01 Feb 2024

We use vaccinations to protect your horses against diseases which might be life-threatening, and those which may be detrimental to their health and performance. Treatment for these diseases may often be unsuccessful, and is usually costly. Vaccines teach your horses’ immune systems to recognize the diseases and fight them off themselves, before they become ill.


is caused by a bacterium, Clostridium tetani which lives in the soil. Infection occurs when bacteria enters the body via a wound (often very tiny) and is almost always fatal. Symptoms start about 10 days after infection, when Clostridium tetani release toxins which make the horse’s muscles continually contract. The animal over-reacts to sound
and touch. The stiffness worsens until the horse cannot move and eventually cannot breathe. An initial course of two, followed by a 3rd vaccination at approx 12 months then regular bi-annual boosters is completely protective. Pregnant mares can be boosted in the final third of their pregnancy so that antibodies are transferred to the foal via colostrum.


unlike tetanus, is caused by a virus. Like human influenza, the equine influenza virus is continually evolving, meaning that the risk from different strains is constantly changing. Symptoms include coughing, nasal discharge, high temperature and loss of appetite. ‘Flu is highly contagious and is transmitted through the air. There is no treatment as
viruses are unaffected by antibiotics, but thankfully the effects on the respiratory system normally short-lived.
Because of the ever-changing strains of the ‘flu virus, vaccines are constantly updated to make sure they protect against the most relevant strains. Frequent boosters are therefore necessary to maintain immunity. We strongly recommend that all horses are vaccinated, horses that compete are required to be vaccinated because of it’s contagious nature. It is generally estimated that only 50% of the UK horse population is vaccinated against ‘flu.
Outbreaks of ‘flu make it into the news because all competition has to stop, the cost to the industry (particularly racing) is enormous.


9 different viruses have been identified, they are constantly circulating in the world’s horse population.
Transmission between horses is via direct or indirect contact with body fluids. In the UK we often vaccinate against EHV-1 and EHV-4 in horses which are at high risk of these viruses. They can cause respiratory disease, abortion and neurological disease, so it is important to protect brood mares, especially those mixing with others. Many race yards also vaccinate their horses against herpes.

Vaccination Rules Jan24 V3

As you can see above, the intervals between doses for effective protection are different. The various governing bodies of our sport also make rules to which competing horses must adhere. We recommend that all horses are vaccinated for their own protection. To avoid having to start the course (of 3) again, the annual booster must be given no more than 365 days from the last one.

As a gesture of goodwill, we send out reminders for vaccines via text messages, but please remember that it is your responsibility to book in the visits in good time.

We keep vaccines in a refrigerated environment at all times to prevent them from getting too warm and becoming inactivated. They are a small dose (no more than 2ml) and are given via intra-muscular injection. Common injection sites are the neck muscle or the brisket.

Just like people, a few horses may be a bit sore at the injection site for a day or two afterwards. Your horse should have a day off or be restricted to gentle exercise following the vaccine.