There are many different vaccine schedules for many different types of horses. A "standard" vaccination program does not exist. Pregnant mares and newborn foals, for instance, need different schedules than the average adult horse. Some factors to consider when choosing a vaccine include the consequences of the disease, risk, exposure, cost, age, environment, efficacy, and adverse effects. Generally, the first time a patient receives a vaccine, the initial series will include 2-3 shots, 3-6 weeks apart, to achieve adequate protection.
Average, non-pregnant, adult:
Potomac Horse Fever biannual (spring and fall)
Eastern and Western Encephalitis virus annual
Influenza virus (intramuscular/nasal) every 3-6 months **
Rhinopneumonitis (herpes) virus every 3-6 months
Tetanus toxoid annual (spring)
West Nile Virus annual (spring)
Strangles (intranasal) annual (spring) optional
Rabies virus annual (spring)
Botulism toxoid annual (fall*)
* recommend if fed round bales
** Note: Research indicates that the intranasal flu vaccine is effective for 6 months. This protocol would eliminate the need for intramuscular flu shots every 3 months.
Rhinopneumonitis (herpes) virus at 5, 7, and 9 months gestation
Booster the following: at 10 months
Potomac Horse Fever
Eastern and Western Encephalitis
West Nile Virus (intramuscular)
Strangles (intramuscular) optional
Botulism (optional but highly recommended) at 8, 9, and 10 months gestation
(Shaker Foal Syndrom & round bale risks)
It is not recommended to administer modified live vaccines to pregnant mares.
Newborn foals (from a vaccinated mare):
The schedule will be different if the mare is not vaccinated or if the vaccination History is unknown.
Potomac Horse Fever at 5-6 and 6-7 months
Eastern and Western Encephalitis at 4-6, 5-7, and 6-8 months
Tetanus at 6, 7, and 8 months
West Nile Virus at 4-6, 5-7, and 6-9 months
Influenza at 9 and 10 months
Rhinopneumonitis (herpes) virus at 4, 5, and 6 months
Strangles (intranasal) optional at 6-9 months and 3 weeks later
Rabies at 6 and 7 months
Botulism at 2-3 months, then 30 & 60 days later
Maternal antibodies are passed in colostrum and help to protect the foal in the few months after birth. These antibodies actually interfere with vaccines given to the foal before 4 months old. We generally measure the foal's blood antibody level with an IgG blood test within 24 hours of birth.
It is expected that as a yearling in the first spring that vaccines are boosted.