Vaccines …. When & When Not To Give Them

We received lots of questions from our West Nile Virus Alert and thought it best to provide additional information on vaccines.

The biggest question we got was “If I vaccinate I’m covered…right?” The correct answer is not always.  First no vaccine is 100% effective.  Second timing is a factor of immunity rather than the vaccine itself. Most vaccines require about 2 weeks for full effect after a booster dose is given. The biggest factor depends on your horse’s immune system. Think about it.  Vaccines are made from killed or modified virus so if your horse’s immune system is in top form you will get good coverage. If it is stressed or compromised then you are making a bad situation worse.     Dr. Mark DePaolo, DVM commented in a recent Blog that No horse should ever be vaccinated that has any of the following:

  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Heaves
  • Cushings
  • Equine Protozoal Encephalomyelitis (EPM)
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Equine Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy (EPSM or PPSM)
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Sarcoids
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Most of, these illnesses compromise the immune system. Thus, by vaccinating you are stressing the immune system further.

Vaccine reactions and doing multiple vaccines at the same time was another area of concern. Most folks think that a reaction will happen within 48 hours of the vaccine. Often horses have vaccine reactions that go totally unnoticed or occur up to 30 days after the administration of the vaccine so these symptoms are not generally thought of as being linked. On multiple vaccines, the AAEP (American Association of Equine Practitioners) warns:
“It should be recognized that:  Administration of multiple vaccines at the same time may increase the risk of adverse reactions. Some horses experience local muscular swelling and soreness or transient, self-limiting signs including fever, anorexia and lethargy. Severe reactions at sites of injection can be particularly troublesome, requiring prolonged treatment and convalescence. Systemic adverse reactions (such as urticaria, purpura hemorrhagica or anaphylaxis) can also occur. An important point to remember is -Any animal can react to any vaccine at any point in its life.

Vaccination risks In addition to their core component, live or killed pathogens, vaccines contain an adjuvant designed to enhance the immune response. These adjuvants typically act as irritants, inciting an amplified and accelerated response to the killed or weakened virus. Although relatively small in quantity, adjuvants, like mercury, arsenic and aluminum are foreign materials with potentially dangerous consequences. The body does not naturally purge heavy metals like mercury and aluminum – thus they continue to accumulate over a horse’s lifetime. Once these heavy metals accrue to relatively low levels, serious illness can occur, including neurologic disorder, kidney failure and colic or digestive distress.
You can test for heavy metals by doing a Equine Hair & Mineral Analysis. For more information on the benefits of hair and mineral analysis visit our website under Why Hair Analysis.

If you must vaccinate do it responsibly by focusing on the “Core” Vaccines. The AAEP has categorized vaccines against the following diseases as “core vaccines”  – WEE, EEE, WNV, Tetanus, Rabies. According to the AAEP, core vaccinations “protect against 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 all equids.” In other words, core vaccines are a safe way to protect horses against dangerous diseases that carry a high risk of exposure.

Vaccine Protocol – Balanced Eco Solutions has developed a vaccine protocol that helps your horse get the best results from vaccines. Using the Body Balance Immune Builder daily the week before, during and after. This helps your horse in several ways. First by building their immune system naturally, Second as it responds to the vaccine. Third by supporting the kidneys and liver in processing the vaccine / virus residue out of their system.

To vaccinate or not is the horse owners personal choice. It must be done responsibly and not on auto pilot. As you decide, ask yourself this question – Why do I vaccinate my children once for some diseases that will last their entire life time yet we feel the need to vaccinate our horses every year and sometimes twice a year for the same disease? Hopefully I have shed some light on the topic.

I hope everyone has a great summer. Ride safe and often.

Ron Stalman
Managing Director
Balanced Eco Solutions.