Vaccinations have probably never been spoken about so much as they are right now. But for our horse insurance team, it’s more than just the COVID-19 vaccinations they have to think about. In much the same way humans receive various vaccinations; it is also important for your horse to be inoculated against diseases that may affect him.

What vaccinations do horses need?

The most talked about vaccinations that horses receive are their flu jabs. These protect against equine influenza which is easily transmitted between horses and can turn into life-threatening bronchitis or pneumonia very quickly. If you wish to take your horse out competing or training, it is a requirement that he has to have an up-to-date flu-vaccination. The vaccinations must be recorded in the horse’s official passport and stamped and signed by the administering vet.

Following a primary course of injections to vaccinate against equine influenza, different societies and governing bodies have different rules regarding the gap between booster jabs for equine influenza. Some require the booster to be given within 6 months and some allow up to a 12-month gap. It is the responsibility of the horse’s owner or handler to make sure the horse is adequately protected.

Horses also need to receive regular tetanus vaccinations. Tetanus is usually fatal for equines and can affect any horse or pony at any time even through seemingly minor wounds. After an initial course, tetanus vaccinations are usually required every two years. Tetanus vaccinations are often given as a combination vaccine with equine influenza every other year.

Vaccinating horses against Equine Herpes Virus (EHV) is increasingly commonplace. EHV can cause abortion and neurological and respiratory disease in horses. EHV can lie dormant in many horses, but they can still be carriers. It is generally accepted that broodmares and horses travelling to stud farms should receive the EHV vaccine.

A vaccine is also now available for the highly contagious and often debilitating bacterial infection, strangles. Horses, ponies and donkeys of all types and ages can be affected by strangles, however young horses often develop more severe illness. The strangles vaccination is given in two injections 4 weeks apart, followed by a booster injection every 3 – 6 months thereafter. You can read more about strangles in our article “What to do if your horse contracts strangles”.

How do vaccinations affect my horse insurance?

SEIB horse insurance policies require the policy holder to have their horse vaccinated against tetanus and equine influenza. Claims will not be paid if the illness would not have occurred had these precautions been taken. If you are insured with another provider, we recommend that you check your policy documents.

 About SEIB

We have been providing insurance for horses for over 50 years. This experience allows us to tailor policies to suit your circumstances and ensure that you and your horses are covered should the worst happen. If you’d like advice on your insurance please call us on 01708 850000.