To Vaccinate or Not To Vaccinate
Why is there so much controversy regarding vaccines
and possible reactions in the news these days? Because in some cases
the cons outweigh the pros. Because medicine is not an exact
science. Because not all pathogens and not all immune systems are
It is true that vaccinations have helped eliminate,
or at least minimize, some fatal diseases in people and animals.
However, it is also true that vaccination reactions can cause harm,
both short term and long term, and even result in the death of the
Fortunately, most vaccine reactions are transitory and not life
threatening; such as fever, swelling, and pain at the injection
site. Unfortunately, some vaccine reactions can worsen an existing
condition, trigger a pre-existing condition, create a permanent
problem, or result in the death of the horse.
If your horse has a history of vaccine reactions or
other medical conditions (laminitis, allergies, auto-immune
conditions, Cushing’s/IR, kidney or liver dysfunction), you may
consider doing a titer test before vaccinating. A titer test
requires taking a blood sample and sending it to a laboratory to
measure the level of anti-bodies for a specific disease in that
The titer indicates the level of anti-bodies either
from exposure to that disease or as the result of a previous
vaccination. If the titer is high enough, one would assume the horse
has protection against that disease and doesn’t need to be
vaccinated at that time. If the titer is low, a “booster”
vaccination may be indicated. The only disadvantage to tittering is
the cost and the time to have the test done. The advantage of not
over vaccinating may be preventing your horse’s death.
This tip was brought to you by KAM Animal Services,
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