Reduce the risk of equine infectious diseases by vaccinating horses

(Unsplash/Ibrahim Rifath)

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Horse racing is one of the most exciting and popular sport across the world. Only a healthy horse is capable of performing at its peak during some equestrian sport or racing, just what you see on TVG shows that sets the adrenalin gushing. You must ensure proper care of horse health and protect it from infectious diseases. Horses are likely to receive ample exposure to mosquitos which are largely responsible for spreading infectious disease from one horse to another. Vaccinating horses is the only way to protect it from a number of infectious diseases. To know more about the diseases, keep reading.


Also known as lockjaw, tetanus is an equine disease caused by the bacteria Clostridium tetani, whose spores are normally available in the soil. Any wound on the horse's body or a freshly healed wound is the ideal place for the manifestation of the bacteria that thrive on low oxygen supply for reproduction and generating a neurotoxin. Incidentally, tetanus also afflicts humans who have to rely on vaccination for prevention. If you observe the horse taking a sawhorse stance caused by muscle stiffness or it experiences stiff neck and protrusion of the third eyelid, it is a symptom of the disease. Tetanus vaccination keeps horses protected from the fatal disease.

Equine influenza

Equine influenza is a viral disease that spreads when horses sniff on infective materials. Sudden onset of fever, dry hacking cough, weakness, nasal discharge, depression, and loss of appetite are the symptoms of influenza. Although influenza does not lead to fatality like tetanus, it can cause bronchitis or pneumonia and emphysema. Consult a veterinarian for proper treatment of influenza on time to prevent long-term health problems.

West Nile Virus

Once again mosquitoes infected with the disease carry the infection of West Nile Virus to horses that receive the deadly sting. In some horses, the disease does not show up at all and cures on its own. In some other horses, the disease affects the central nervous system. Such horses may develop fever, impaired vision, paralysis of hind limbs or weakness, convulsions, head pressing, lack of coordination, inability to swallow and can even go into a coma.

Sleeping sickness (Equine Encephalomyelitis)

Equine Encephalomyelitis viruses of the Eastern, Western and Venezuelan types are responsible for this disease that impacts the nervous system. Being a vector-borne disease, it spreads through mosquitoes that carry the infection. High fever and depression coupled with a brief period of blindness are symptoms of the disease that results in disjointed behavior and makes the animal nervous. Often muscle tremors happen that might lead to paralysis. Proper mosquito control and vaccination are preventive measures to take.

 Equine Herpesvirus

EHV-1 type of herpes virus causes stillbirth and abortion as well as respiratory diseases like cough, fever, and nasal discharge. Neurological problems like a weak hind limb, walking difficulty and paralysis can also happen. Respiratory problems are the only symptom for EHV-4 herpes virus.

Maintain a history of vaccination and monitor it properly to ensure that there are no missed schedules.