LNHT Horse Health Requirements: Vaccinations, Coggins, & Health Certificates
Updated: Dec 6, 2019
There's a video being shared around Facebook of a filly with Tetanus that has sparked a lot of talk on vaccinations & such, so I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to make my first blog post about the health requirements for horses (client & personal) at Lexy Nuesch Horse Training.
In 2019, I'm increasing how strict I am about having the proper proof of vaccinations, a Negative Coggins, & a health certificate. I've always required there, but have never turned anyone away if they showed up without a Negative Coggins test or said they didn't have any records on their vaccinations as they self-vaccinated their horses. This year, any horse that arrives without the proper paperwork WILL NOT be accepted for training. No "ifs, ands, or buts" about it.
Vaccinations are an essential part of horse health & disease prevention, especially for boarding & training facilities. Not only do they protect the horse that they're administered to, but having your horse vaccinated also protect other horses they might come into contact with.
In 2019, I will require the following vaccinations: Tetanus, Eastern/Western Equine Encephalomyelitis (EEE/WEE), Equine Herpesvirus (EHV), Influenza (EIV), West Nile Virus (WNV), & Rabies. This includes all of the core equine diseases as well as two of the risk-based equine diseases.
Core & Risk-Based Equine Diseases
The core equine diseases are Eastern/Western Equine Encephalomyelitis, Rabies, Tetanus, & West Nile Virus. The AVMA defines core vaccinations as those “that protect from diseases that are endemic to a region, those with potential public health significance, required by law, virulent/highly infectious, and/or those posing a risk of severe disease. Core vaccines have clearly demonstrated efficacy and safety, and thus exhibit a high enough level of patient benefit and low enough level of risk to justify their use in the majority of patients.”
Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis is a 90% fatal disease that's transmitted through infected mosquitoes. Western Equine Encephalomyelitis is a 50% fatal disease that's also spread through infected mosquitoes. Rabies is 100% fatal & transmitted from the bite of an infected animal, but the vaccine is 100% effective. Tetanus is a 75% fatal disease that's transferred from the soil into puncture or open wounds. West Nile Virus is 33% fatal & transmitted through mosquitoes.
For more info, check out the AAEP's Core Vaccination Guidelines.
The risk-based equine diseases are Anthrax, Botulism, Equine Herpesvirus (Rhinopneumonitis), Equine Influenza, Equine Viral Arteritis, Leptospirosis, Potomac Horse Fever, Rotaviral Diarrhea, Snake Bite, & Strangles. The use of risk-based vaccinations may vary regionally, from population to population within an area, or between individual horses within a given population.
For more info, check out the AAEP's Risk-Based Vaccination Guidelines.
I know many people, including myself, vaccinate their horses on their own rather than having their veterinarians do it. I completely understand that but will need physical vaccine labels or photocopies of the vaccine labels with dates of administration or vet verification that those vaccinations were given on the health certificate.
What Vaccines Do My Personal Horses Receive?
In the past, my personal horses have received the Fluvac Innovator 5, West Nile Innovator, & Rabvac vaccines as well as Pinnacle I.N., the intranasal Strangles vaccine. However, Zoetis has a new Core EQ Innovator vaccine that is the first & only vaccine to contain all core equine disease antigens in one vaccine. I may pair that with the Fluvac Innovator EHV-4/1 in 2019 so that I only have to administer two vaccines rather than three.
Why don't I just give a vaccine that has everything in it? When I was in college, Zoetis held a special night to talk about equine diseases & vaccinations. One of the biggest takeaways that I learned from that talk was to give the West Nile Virus & Equine Herpesvirus vaccines separately. There are a lot of vaccines out there that lump everything together (i.e., West Nile Virus & Equine Herpesvirus in the same vaccine). The Equine Herpesvirus vaccine can reduce the efficacy of the West Nile Virus vaccine when together.
Coggins (Equine Infectious Anemia - EIA)
Equine infectious anemia (EIA) is a potentially fatal blood-borne contagious viral disease that produces a persistent infection among horses nearly worldwide. The most common vectors for spreading EIA are biting flies, particularly horseflies. These large blood feeders can carry virus-bearing blood on their mouthparts from an infected horse to others.
While EIA is a low incidence disease, it is still a concern as there is no cure. Because of the number of horses coming through my facility & the personal & client horses that travel for several horse events, I place a significant emphasis on preventing such a disease.
The blood test performed to check for EIA is called a Coggins test. You might be familiar with needing a Negative Coggins test to transport horses across state lines. I require a Negative Coggins test from all client horses even if you & your horse reside in Nebraska. Coggins tests are generally good for 12 months so make sure that you have a Coggins test that will be valid through the entirety of your horse's stay at LNHT.
A health certificate, or Certificate of Veterinary Inspection, is also required for your horse to be accepted into training. These certificates, which attest that the horse exhibits no obvious signs of disease on the day of inspection and are signed by your veterinarian, are generally good for 30 days, although some are limited to just 10 days. Having a health certificate not only protects your horse & the horses they come into contact with, but it also lays a paper trail should the disease status of your horse be questioned.
Can You Follow Directions?
Remember that activity in school when the teacher would hand you a sheet of paper with thirty steps on it? The entire class would feverishly get to work on it & thirty seconds later five of your 20 classmates jumped up placing it on the front table signaling they were finished? What in the world...How are they already finished? You were only on step seven of 30. Well, turns out the first step's directions were to read all of the steps before starting. Ain't nobody got time for that, right?! Wrong! Had you read through all of the steps first, you would have found that step thirty read, "Disregard steps two through 29 & write your name on the top left of the paper & turn it in."
Not only are these requirements a good practice of biosecurity & horse health, but I appreciate clients (heck, anybody for that matter) that are able to follow directions & are willing to go the extra mile to be sure that they have the proper paperwork in place.
Thanks for reading my very first blog post! If you liked it, let me know! If you have any questions, leave a comment or send me a Facebook message or email!