Info Sheets

By New Forest Equine Vets on Feb 28, 2017



Vaccines stimulate an immune response by tricking horses' bodies into believing that they are being attacked by a disease and creating antibodies and killer cells which will enable a strong, quick immune response should natural infection pursue.



The equine influenza (EI) virus is endemic in GB and spreads rapidly between individuals.  Even horses that do not leave their home or mix with other horses may be at risk because the virus can spread over very long distances in airborne droplets.  The disease is commonly fatal to foals, donkeys and mules.


CLINICAL SYMPTOMS IN HORSESFeverLethargyInappetanceNasal /ocular dischargeDeep dry cough SOME HORSES WILL DEVELOPMyositis (muscle disease)Myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) FEW HORSES DIE DUE TOPleuropneumoniaPurpura


There are 4 different equine influenza vaccinations on the market that are authorised, and in common use by equine vets in the UK.

Only one of these vaccines, that used by New Forest Equine Vets, has been updated to include the Florida Clade 2 strain of flu which has been responsible for almost all outbreaks in the UK since 2011.  It is the only vaccine that complies with OIE regulations.

At New Forest Equine Vets we have invested in this influenza vaccination, because we are committed to providing the best preventative health care to our clients and patients.



Tetanus (T) is rare in GB, but is usually fatal, with only a small number of horses surviving with intensive treatment and hospitalisation.


It is caused by toxins from C.tetani, bacteria commonly found in the digestive tract of animals and therefore widespread in soil. Disease occurs when toxins enter the body via a wound, which may be as tiny as an ulcer in the mouth.  All unvaccinated horses are therefore at risk of tetanus, regardless of whether they travel or mix with other horses.


The primary course consists of two vaccinations 4-6 weeks apart.  Immunity has developed by two weeks after the second vaccination and it is advisable to wait until such a time until your horse undergoes any dental treatment.




  • Inability to feed off the ground
  • Mildly stiff gait
  • Exaggerated 'startle' response
  • Anxious face (retracted lips, flared nostrils, erect ears)
  • Third eyelid becomes visible



  • Stiff gait
  • Rigidly extended neck and legs (sawhorse stance)
  • Arching of the neck
  • Tail head held high
  • Inability to swallow (food/saliva discharge from the nose)
  • Absence of urination + defecation → bloat → colic



  • Recumbency (inability to stand up)
  • Conscious tonic-clonic spasms which can → fractured legs
  • Death due to paralysis of respiratory muscles





Livery yards and competition authorities generally require that horses are vaccinated against equine influenza (EI) to comply with Jockey Club Rules which stipulate that:


  • the 2nd Vaccine is administered 21-92 days after the 1st vaccine.
  • the 3rd Vaccine is administered 150-215 days after the 2nd vaccine.
  • the first annual booster is administered within 365 days of the 3rd vaccine
  • boosters thereafter are administered within 365 days of the last vaccination.


These dates, however, are different to the dates recommended by the vaccine manufacturers to provide effective immunisation.


To comply with the 'rules' and ensure proper protection against equine influenza (EI) and tetanus (T), at New Forest Equine Vets we recommend the following schedules:


Equine Influenza and Tetanus1st vaccine:  From 6 months of age2nd vaccine:  4-6 weeks later3rd vaccine:  5 months laterAnnual boosters: EI only within 365 days then alternate between EI / EI and T every year


* Horses competing under FEI regulations must in addition be vaccinated against EI within 6 months of the 3rd vaccine and then receive EI boosters every 6 months.

Tetanus1st vaccine:  From 6 months of age2nd vaccine:  4-6 weeks laterAnnual boosters: 2 years later   Then every 2nd year


Vaccination schedule for broodmares (EI and T) to provide immunity to the foal


Vaccinated pregnant mares:Booster 4-6 weeks before foaling.Unvaccinated pregnant mares:2nd vaccine 4-6 weeks before foaling     1st vaccine 4-6 weeks before 2nd vaccine

New Forest Equine Vets logo      01425 600080      T&C's  Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

New Forest Equine vets 2018

new forest equine vets horse logo
BEVA logo Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons      01425 600080      T&C's

New Forest Equine vets 2018

BEVA logo Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons