Horse Vaccinations

Vaccination of your horse is a good way to prevent diseases such as Tetanus and Strangles making your horse sick. With all vaccinations there needs to be 2-3 given initially. The first vaccinations prime the immune system, and the follow-up injections create a longer lasting result. Sometimes in young foals, the protection they get from the mothers colostrum after birth can interfere with the vaccination, and this is why multiple vaccinations need to be given.


Clostridium tetani is a normal, soil borne bacteria that produces the tetanus toxin. When a horse gets a wound through the skin, bacteria can enter and create an infection.. Tetanus in horses is difficult to treat and can be fatal. Vaccination is very effective at preventing tetanus and protecting your horse.

Vaccination Course:

– Horses 3 months of age and older:

o 2 injections, 4 weeks apart

o Booster 12 months later

o Then every 5 years

 If the horse gets a wound in that time, a booster then is recommended


Streptococcus equi subsp equi is a bacteria that causes infection and abscessation in the upper respiratory tract. Vaccination helps to prevent the horse from showing severe signs of the disease and reduces its spread, which is important when horses come into contact with one another when they are taken out, and in multiple horse homes.

Vaccination Course:

– Horses 6 months of age and older:

o 3 injections, 2 weeks apart.

o Booster 12 months later

o Then every year

NB for horses in high risk situations (Eg in contact with horses from sale yards, at racing stables) the booster can be given 6 monthly.

Hendra Virus:

Hendra Virus is carried by flying fruit foxes. It is a virus that is transmitted to horses, and from horses it can infect people. It has a high fatality rate for both horses and humans. It is mainly found along the East Coast of Australia, in Northern New South Wales and Southern Queensland, in specific areas. The main risk to horses in Victoria is coming into contact with an infected horse from these areas at an event (Eg EA, HRCAV or other competitions). We do not recommend routine Hendra vaccination unless your horse is staying in a Hendra Zone, or will be competing regularly against horses from interstate.

Vaccination Course:

– Horses 6 months of age and older:

o 2 initial vaccinations, 2-4 weeks apart

o 6 month booster

o Then every 12 months

Equine Herpes Virus:

Equine Herpes Virus (EHV) 1 and 4 cause respiratory and reproductive disease. EHV-1 is known to cause respiratory signs like a cold. EHV-4 can cause mares to abort their foals. In areas of known prevalence, and in brood mares, it is good to vaccinate against it.

Vaccination Course:

– Horses 5 months of age and older:

o 2 injections, 4-6 weeks apart

o Booster every 6 months

o Young foals with lack of adequate colostrum can be started from 3 months.

o Brood mares can be vaccinated in the 5 th , 7 th and 9 th months of pregnancy also.

Equine Rotavirus:

Rotavirus can cause severe diarrhoea in young foals. If the mare is vaccinated against rotavirus, she passes on some protection against rotavirus in her colostrums

Vaccination Protocol

– Brood mares:

o Injections in the 8 th , 9 th and 10 th months of pregnancy

o Boosters in the last month of pregnancy in following years


Our Recommendations:

At Maryborough Vet Practice, we recommend that all horses be vaccinated against tetanus. We can then discuss your horses requirements for other vaccinations. If you wish to also vaccinate against strangles, then if your horse hasn’t been vaccinated previously, or has an unknown history of vaccination, then the basic course is:

– Week 1

– 2 weeks later

– 2 weeks later

– Followed by Annual booster 12 months later

– Then Equivac S every year and Equivac 2in1 every 5 th year.

Brood mares

For brood mares, vaccination again tetanus should always be performed. If the mare is travelling off to stud, then covering for Strangles and EHV is also recommended.

o Equivac 2in1 (Tetanus and Strangles)

o Equivac S (Strangles)

o Equivac 2in1 (Tetanus and Strangles)