Vaccinations. They are something we humans do not enjoy ourselves, so how can we expect our horses to feel any different? Vaccinations are necessary to prevent disease and work to save the lives of many animals each year. With that being said, we need to ensure our horses are fully prepared to receive their seasonal immunizations. Here are five tips & tricks you should utilize this season to make the most out of your vaccines.
- Handle horses regularly <p/>This may seem like a given, but if your horses are not accustomed to being handled, they may be caught off guard when it comes time to do vaccinations. Desensitizing the neck by pulling the skin or adding pressure with your finger is a good idea, especially for younger horses. This will help the horse remain relaxed on injection day. <p/>
- Give ‘em a break <p/>This next tip is more directed toward performance horses. After vaccinations, horses tend to feel “groggy,” so be aware of your timeline and schedule immunizations during a period when the horses can have a break following the vet’s visit.<p/>
- Deworming <p/>Working with your veterinarian to deworm your horse properly is vital for equine health. Due to the rise in parasite resistance, utilization of fecal egg count tests will not only work toward reducing resistance, but also pin-point the specific parasites that need to be addressed. If your horse is suffering from internal parasites, the vaccinations given this season will not be as effective.<p/>
- Decrease stress <p/>Stressors are the main reason animals get sick. Have you ever wondered why you get sick when you are stressed? It is because the immune system gets run down and your body cannot adequately defend itself. It would be wise to schedule any large stressors—such as a new horse on the property or shavings being hauled in—after immunizations. If your horses are less stressed, they will be healthier on vaccination day. <p/>
- Vitalize® Equine Recovery Gel <p/> As mentioned above, we want our horses to be as healthy as possible when vaccinations are administered, so the injections will work effectively. Unfortunately, horses cannot express how they feel, and a shift in microbial populations in the gut cannot be seen. Because 70% of immune cells live in the gut, digestive upset (this “shift”) often leads to illness.<p/>To help give your horse an immune boost before vaccinations, give Vitalize Equine Recovery Gel before immunizations. The proprietary formula containing vitamins, organic minerals, amino acids, anti-oxidants, Amaferm®, and MOS all work together to combat digestive upset, and in turn, illness. Giving Recovery Gel after vaccination day may also aid in the “grogginess” as mentioned above and help get his head (and gut) back in the game!
These tips will help make your vaccination day run just a little smoother for everyone in the barn! For more information about vaccinations or deworming protocols, be sure to visit www.aaep.org and work with your veterinarian to create an optimal vaccine and deworming schedule for your horse, since every horse and region is different.