Equine Influenza Virus

The disease spreads very rapidly so vaccination is often compulsory for horses entering competitions. You should make sure your own horse is fully protected before it mixes with new animals.

New born foals should start their flu vaccinations from four months of age, although young animals may require more initial vaccinations than an older horse due to the persistence of antibodies that they received from their mother. The initial course for an adult is two injections given 4-6 weeks apart, and a first booster is required 6 months later.

Following this first booster, the manufacturer’s recommendation for subsequent vaccination should be followed, normally every 12 months. For most governing bodies this is sufficient for competition. However, some organisations are now insisting on a minimum period of 6 months between vaccination and competition. Be careful to check the rules of any competition before you leave for an event.

If any, there are usually only mild side-effects to a flu vaccine. Sometimes, horses can feel off-colour for 24-48 hours following the vaccine and, if this is the case, they should not be worked in the following days. If more severe reactions occur, then you should always contact your veterinary surgeon.