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[RC] Why do we vaccinate horses every year? (long) - Kristi Schaaf

A question with no right answer, but maybe some really
strong opinions...I'd like to hear what the
well-informed on ridecamp think...
Why do we vaccinate horses every year? Do we do it
just because that's the length of time the drug
companies happen to test the vaccines for? Or is it a
clinically proven necessity? I get a tetanus vaccine
every 5 years (twice as often as the normal human
schedule, because I'm around horses). So why do horses
get a tetanus shot every year? Has it been proven that
their bodies metabolize (don't know if that's the word
I should be using) the vaccine faster? And take dogs
vs the annual equine rabies vaccine - their rabies
vaccine lasts 3 years (plus the AVMA has recently
changed their recommendation on some other small
animal vaccines, from annual to bi- or tri-annual). I
thought about running titers on my horses but was told
by a vet that they're unreliable indicators of actual
immunity and a waste of money. I'm considering
vaccinating my horses every other year instead of
annually, staggering the vaccines so they get only one
or two types a year. I'm wondering what vaccines those
of you on ridcamp use, and why you choose to use them?
Does your horse get them just because they happen to
be in the 3-way (or the 5-way) that your vet uses? Or
is it because you/your vet truly believe your horse is
at risk for that virus? I currently vaccinate for
WNV/tetanus/rabies annually (a change from my vet
vaccinating them for all the flus,etc, back before I
even thought about asking what was in all those
syringes). My horses mean the world to me and I would
never purposely jeopardize their health, but sometimes
I wonder if we get a little carried away on how many
vaccines we dump into their systems every single year.
Tha hard part is deciding what acceptable risk there
is for vaccinating/not vaccinating for any particular
virus; I sure don't want to make this decision without
gaining as much knowledge as possible about it. 
Kristi iluvdez at yahoo dot com           

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