Why should my Veterinarian be giving my horse vaccinations?
I admire and respect all of those horse folks out there that have the skills and knowledge and experience to give their own horses injections. But, in the case of vaccinations, I have a few really good reasons to only have your Veterinarian give vaccines:
- You can trust the source. For years and years, I worked in Veterinary medicine. The rule was that when vaccines arrived in the clinic, they are immediately opened. They are packed with ice packs and styrofoam to remain cold. (Lots and manufacturers and numbers and records are also tracked and recorded.) If, for any reason, they were not cold, they were immediately sent back. No questions asked. Such is the case for every Professional Veterinary practice. Horse Vet trucks also have fridges on board to keep the vaccines safe.
Bonus is your Vet is cool enough to have awesome nail polish.
- When you buy vaccines from the feed store or online, you have no way to know if the box was left outside too long, the delivery guy was late, the fridge is at the correct temp, too much room for error. I’m not placing blame or passing judgement or saying anything negative. I like to leave the medical stuff to the medical pros. Same reason I’m not getting my shavings, farm supplies, grooming supplies from the Vet’s office! Everyone has a specialty.
- Your Veterinarian will have life saving medications with them in case your horse has an adverse reaction. Adverse vaccine reactions range from “meh” to “death”. They can happen at any age, regardless of any previous vaccination history. A past with not even a fever does not mean this year will be the same for your horse. If your Veterinarian is administering vaccinations, he will also be able to intervene if anaphylaxis sets in. (In a nutshell, anaphylaxis happens when your horse’s entire insides start to swell. Super bad.) You can learn more about vaccine reactions here.
- Severe allergic reactions need treatment asap. Anaphylaxis sets in within 20 minutes and you don’t have much longer than that to help your horse. You may not have time to spare if your Vet has to leave another appointment and drive to you.
- It may be required by law that a Veterinarian gives vaccines. This depends on the vaccination and depends on the state you live in. Rabies is a deadly disease to horses, dogs, cats, and people (among others). Most states require this vaccination for animals, and most states require a Veterinarian to administer it. No exceptions.
Some vaccines are sub q, others are IM!
- Your Veterinarian knows what to give and when to give it. I did a cursory search on some of the larger horse supply sites and the choices are overwhelming. There must be at least 20 variations of the flu/rhino combo alone. Your Veterinarian can determine the best vaccines to give for your horse’s age, medical history, and location. Your Veterinarian can help you stagger, pre-medicate, and monitor your horse after vaccination. Your Veterinarian is also the best person to track when vaccinations are due. I know that I can barely remember to brush my hair in the morning, much less when the boys last received their shots!
- The vaccine manufacturer will likely not assume any responsibility for their products if they are used off label - and that includes “for use by a Veterinarian only”.
- You will not be able to get a health certificate for travel if a Veterinarian does not perform the vaccine. You will also not be able to prove vaccines for shows, moving to a new barn, or anything else that requires proof of vaccination.
Why do you have your Veterinarian give vaccinations to your horses?