Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Spring Vaccines

I've always been a huge proponent of my veterinarian giving my horses vaccines. No matter how many times I hear about all the money I can save by doing it myself, I always opt to have my vet come out and administer all vaccines. I just don't want to take the risk that something will happen and the vet isn't there.

Last fall, however, the BO gave Lilly her vaccines and I was terribly nervous that something might go wrong. Thankfully, nothing happened and all was well. She received E/W encephalomyelitis, Rhino, Flu, and tetanus.

This year there seemed to be some confusion at the barn regarding the vaccines. Since the BO had given the vaccines in the fall, I assumed she would be giving the vaccines again this spring. When time kept passing, I emailed her to find out what she was planning. Even if the BO wasn't going to give the vaccines herself, I figured we would have the vet do all the horses at once to save on the farm call. That's when I found out that the vet had already come out and had given rabies to all her horses, but she didn't ask the vet to give Lilly her rabies vaccine. When I asked her about it, she said she thought I had told her not to... I know the rabies has to be given by the vet, so I'm not sure why she would skip Lilly, but no big deal. That's why I had the vet out last weekend to give Lilly her rabies and strangles.

I still hadn't heard anything from her regarding the rest of the vaccines so I asked again. The Bo said her hubby was going to get the 5-way shots for all the horses this past weekend and give them shortly. Since Lilly just had tetanus, I didn't want her getting another one, so I asked if they could get Lilly a 4-way, plus west nile. (For some reason, they aren't big on giving west nile, and I'm not sure why...) They weren't able to find anything without tetanus and everyone was out of west nile, so they didn't get any vaccines for Lilly.

I knew my vet was coming back out to the barn on Friday to do some work on the BO's horse, so I gave her a call to inquire about getting the rest of Lilly's vaccines. We talked for a while about each one and I mentioned that I was interested in splitting them up as much as we could because of the reaction Lilly had to the rabies vaccine last Saturday. She was mortified that I didn't call her to let her know how awful Lilly was feeling. She said that kind of a reaction isn't normal and she would have come out right away to give Lilly some Banamine. I feel horrible that I didn't call to let her know. She's going to report the reaction to her office so they can let the manufacturer know. She said they see more reaction to rabies than any other vaccine and that they also see a lot of reactions with the Flu/Rhino vaccine. So the plan is to give the EE/WE and west nile on Friday when she's out (since we're getting late into the season), and then come back and give the Flu/Rhino a few days later.

So for spring vaccines, she'll get E/W encephalomyelitis, rhino, flu, west nile, rabies, and strangles. Normally I do tetanus in the spring, but since she had it in the fall, I don't want her to get it again. I think I'll just start giving it in the fall since she already gets so many spring vaccines.

She mentioned how it's always better to have a veterinarian give the vaccines just in case the horse has a reaction and I completely agree. I told her last fall was the first time I had someone other than a vet give my vaccines and I'll never do it again. My understanding with vaccines purchased in store and online is that you're not afforded any protection should something happen to your horse. My vet mentioned that if your horse abscesses at the injection site, for example, and needs to be taken to the clinic, the manufacturer will pay a large portion of that vet bill as long as the vaccine was administered by a licensed veterinarian. She mentioned Pfizer specifically... Otherwise, you're on your own if something happens.

From now on I'm going to schedule my own appointments with my veterinarian and not wait around for anyone else. I'm curious how many of you do your own vaccines, though, and if you've ever had an issue.


  1. I used to do my own, in Memphis, because I trusted the feed store would have properly handled vaccines. I got the vet to do WNV/rabies whenever s/he came out for Coggins.

    One of the vet clinics in Reno does "shot clinics" - $15 farm call, cheap basic exam, if you schedule for one of the days in your area. I missed the first couple of days, and the last day conflicted with something I wanted to do, so I hauled Dixie in this year. I got half her shots done a couple weeks ago, and I'll get rabies and something else when I go back in early May to have her teeth floated. I just rescheduled it today, actually - I had her going in on May 7, but now that I'm planning on the Washoe ride on May 6 I thought that was too much to ask! The receptionist/tech said it'd be fine to sedate her for floating the day after a 50, but maybe not to do rabies that same day, so we're doing all the work on the 11th.

    I didn't realize rabies was so hard on them, but I still think I'll keep doing it. The stakes are too high, yknow?

    You can do your own WNV? TN/NV requires a vet to administer those!

  2. I also used to do my own vaccines but after a couple yrs of doing them myself I decided I would rather have my vet do them.
    Fritzy abscessed from her vaccines last year and after all the vet work and we received the bill, I noticed my vet hardly charged me at all. I didn't realize that the vaccine makers reimburse the vets if there is a reaction. That must be why my bill wasn't much for the abscess treatment. Fritzy now only gets shots in her butt and we skipped the flu since it has a higher reaction rate. (Since I don't show or travel much with my horses I wasn't too concerned about skipping the flu vaccine.)

  3. I must admit I dont vaccinate for anything. I know they are strating to say do for strangles and tetnus but only my friends who travel alot are doing that. It is all new to me

  4. I'd be too scared to chance it. Though when Junior had his reaction it was several hours later so the vet would have been gone by then anyway. I did read somewhere (at the time) that if a horse has a bad reaction they are likely to have a worse reaction the next time they are given the same ingredient. My vet didn't seem to concerned. He said that the reaction was mild and since it went away as quickly as it came I shouldn't worry.... sometimes he forgets who he's talking to. ;)

  5. I admit to doing my own vaccines, but only because I worked in an animal disease lab for years, worked as a tech and studied animal science. I've poked soo many animals with needles that I'm confident in my skill, and buy direct from the local veterinary supplier, so I know my vaccines were handled correctly.

    That being said, I never tell people they should or shouldn't do what I do. I vaccinate my dog myself too, but I know that's not for a lot of people!

    I do want to add (since I have a background in animal disease), that we've shown a better titre (protection level) to West Nile with the separate shot (live attenuated) vs. the combo shot (killed). So by splitting them up, you're probably getting better protection for Lilly then her barn mates.

    Oh, and we also space out all of our vaccines as a well...4-way, then 4 weeks later Flu, then 2 weeks later WNV. : ) Lot less chance of reaction as they're pretty much out of the system when we're giving the next one. : )

  6. I've always done my own, but only a vet can do rabies in Texas. I have also never vaccinated for strangles because Halo has allergies and the lymph nodes under her jaw already have issues with random swelling. I'm not willing to take the chance that she'll have a severe reaction to the vaccine.

  7. I always have the vet do Pippis shots. I'm much to afraid something could happen. I figure I wouldn't want a normal person to give me a shot, I'd want a nurse so my horse gets the vet.

  8. Thanks to Canadian regulations we have to buy vaccines from the vet clinic. In most cases the vets want to do the shots themselves but will allow some of the clients to do there own. (We order ours in by the box and the entire barn gets done by the BO) Our vet isn't that horsey and everyone feels better if the BO does it.

  9. I always do all my own - however I was given quite the education on giving vaccines in both college and then a refresher by my wonderful vet. Plus, my girl is a draft cross with a heck of a "target area" - it would be very hard to mess it up on her. I do not do my dog's or cats' vaccines, though.

    I've even done Rabies in the past. Actually, in Ohio it is "required" for a vet to give Rabies, but vaccine-makers are allowed to sell Rabies to OH residents so I've done my own. The draw-back is that if there is a rabies outbreak my horse will HAVE to go through the quarantine, etc due to a vet not giving it. So, I've gone back to my vet doing it. And, since it's so freaking hard to find Potomac vaccines anywhere, I have him give the one while he's out.

    The rest (I do E/W/V encaphalytis, Flu/Rhino, Tetanus, and WNV), I do myself. She gets all of those, plus the vet's rabies and PHF in the spring. In the fall I give a Flu/Rhin and a Tetanus. My vet has told me that in horses, a Tetanus vaccine is really only "good" for 6 months, so I do them bi-annually.

    I am quite comfortable with it, and take the proper precautions (actually I probably go too far - alcohol wipes, gloves, etc). If you're not comfortable with it, then you shouldn't do it. I would, however, urge ALL horse owners to at least LEARN how to give IM and sub-q shots....there may be a time when your horse is super sick and your vet leaves you meds that you must give either way. Believe me, it's a lot easier in the middle of the chaos of an injury to know how to give shots rather than trying to learn.

  10. Having worked for veterinarians, I am comfortable giving horses, cats and dogs shots. I was always able to just get the vaccines from my vets and administer it myself.

    I have not vaccinated my horses in over a decade. I think Moon is the only horse I have left that ever received a full round of vaccinations and that was back when he was a youngster. None of these other horses. that came off the ranch, have ever received anything except WN one year, back when that first came around and lots of horses were dying from it.

    The only shot I get for my pets is the rabies and I do have the vet stop by and give that to them.

    I have been meaning to talk with my neighbor and see what her vaccination routine looks like for her PRCA horse. Since she covers the country and goes into Canada, I'm sure it's extensive, but am curious what she thinks is the most important and how she spreads them out. Timing is important and there are some that should be given boosters at regular intervals if a horse is being hauled hard and to a lot of different locations.

  11. I like having the vet out twice a year for shots and a wellness exam. I see the horses all day long, so I don't notice a little extra weight creeping up, etc. It's good to have that pro eye take a look. I start jotting down questions/concerns about a month in advance!

    1. I do my own, except Rabies, which the vet has to do. I also pick and choose pretty carefully which ones to do. For example, I don't do flu, because it only protects them for like 2 weeks. Not really much point in doing it. I'm pretty careful when I do them (alcohol swabs, gloves, etc.) and I track where I give each one so that if there's a problem, I'll know which vaccine it was.