~ Worming & Vaccinations

The Importance of a Sound Vaccination Program

Vaccination is a term with which every horse owner is familiar.  Moreover, many do not realize the importance of a well-planned vaccination program for horses.  A vaccination program, designed by a veterinarian, will help ensure the horses in a stable stay healthy and productive.  An effective and successful vaccination program against infectious diseases is an essential component and key management tool for any horse operation wishing to institute a preventative medicine program.  Horses, just like people, are constantly exposed to bacterial and viral organisms.  Many of these can cause mild to debilitating diseases.  This risk is especially significant when horses are shipped to tracks, farms, or other stables.  The more a horse is away from his home environment and mingled with other horses, the greater the chance of exposure to potential carriers of infectious diseases.  This is particularly true of respiratory diseases.  Infectious disease control programs, in conjunction with vaccination, are important in maximizing the health, productivity, and performance of a horse.  A veterinarian can help design a health program to reduce exposure to infectious disease agents in a horse’s environment to lessen the incidence of illness.  Disease control programs should be tailored to individual needs, with consideration given to ages, types, activities, and number of horses in the program. 

Note:  This information was provided by the AAEP  It should be used as a basis in discussing specific needs with YOUR veterinarian.  His or her recommendations will be based on a variety of factors, including age, sex, type of horse, and geographic location.  He or she will have insight into the diseases endemic to a region and the likelihood of disease outbreaks at specific times of year.  

Recommended Equine Vaccination Schedule

Vaccination and Passive Transfer

It is important to vaccinate broodmares 4 to 6 weeks before foaling for their own protection, as well as to maximize concentrations of immunoglobulin in their colostrum to be passively transferred to their foals.

I inoculate my Mares with EWT 30 to 45 days prior to anticipation of foaling.

Recognize that simply vaccinating the mare is not sufficient for protection of the foal; successful passive transfer must also occur. The foal must receive adequate amounts of high quality colostrum and absorb adequate amounts of specific colostral immunoglobulins before absorption of macromolecules ceases (generally within 12- 24 hours). Specific colostral immunoglobulins provide protection against field infections for several months but also may interfere with vaccinal antigens and may interfere with foal responses to vaccines; a phenomenon termed “maternal antibody interference.”

Although protective concentrations of maternal antibody decline with time, vaccination of a foal while these colostral antibodies are present - even at concentrations less than those considered to be protective - is often of minimal value because of maternal antibody interference. Consequently, a foal may be susceptible to infection before the primary vaccinal series is completed. Management directed at minimizing exposure to infectious agents is key during this interval.

Foals with residual maternal antibodies generally produce a greater serologic response to killed vaccines when an initial series of three doses is administered rather than the 2-dose series recommended by most manufacturers of vaccines for older horses without residual maternal antibodies.

~ PLEASE NOTE ~ YES Miniature Horse require the same dose as big horses.

Please pay special attention to the safety indications regarding vaccinations for pregnant mares. Also READ the fine print and do Not assume that if it is safe for a big horses it is safe for a horse 1/4 in size.

Do NOT give Miniature Horses the "Combo" shots (shots that include West Nile)  it is too much for their systems, some companies in the fine print warn against it's use on ponies.  DO NOT give West Nile to Miniatures in their first trimester of pregnancy. Make sure your breeding stallions are inoculated 3 months prior to season.

On Miniature Horses if you need to give, as an example, EE/T and WN (Double or Triple Encephalomylitis, Tetanus and West Nile) Give your EE/T in one side of the neck or buttocks one week, then give the West Nile separately A WEEK LATER in the other side. OR if you use EE/F/T Give it in 2 shots, EE/F then a couple days later give the T.

I purchase my vaccines separate in the 10 dose vials.

Click here for a guide on how to give Intramuscular Injections.



  • My de-worming program has worked well for me.  I use 3 different parasitic wormers throughout the year, in the fall/winter I use Ivermectin for Bots.  I add a wormer that also eradicates tape worm in the spring.  I use a mild dewormer every 30 days up to 6 months of age for foals.  Since late 2008 I base giving my horses medicine to kill parasites on a "if needed" basis by having a fecal egg count done then "IF needed" mine receive a dose in the Spring and Fall only.
    Worming is done by the weight of the horse so pick up a pony weight tape, measure around the mini just behind the front legs and it will give you an idea of the weight of your animal. Be sure not to overdose. And make sure the ring on the wormer does not slip. Don't panic if you do, most such as Ivermectin and Fenbendazole are safe enough that you can double or triple with no side effects but BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL with others.
  • NEVER use Moxidectrin (one brand name is Quest) on a Miniature Horse, there is NO room for error -UNLESS you know for a fact the horses weight and also the horses history in that you are  positive it does not have a high worm load.

1. Conduct fecal egg count tests for all horses on your property.  You can purchase test kits on-line. All you do is put some of your horse's manure in a small vial, fill out the form, include a check (usually under $20), and mail it off. You'll receive your results in the mail in a week or so. Or you can have your veterinarian do the test for you.

2. Immediately de-worm horses with positive test results (more than 100 eggs).

3. For horses with negative test results (100 eggs or less), deworm ONLY TWICE a year as above. with a dewormer that contains praziquantel and ivermectin (e.g., Zimecterin Gold or Equimax) The first deworming should be during mid-fly season and the second during the winter freeze.

The reason you must still deworm with praziquantel is that bots and tapeworms don’t show up on fecal egg counts. Praziquantel is especially effective against these kinds of parasites. With miniatures be very careful.

If a horse is carrying a very heavy parasite load, it is best to de-worm gradually! a large die-off of parasites can make a horse very ill..to the point of colic and death. If your horse has a very high fecal egg count, consult your veterinarian before de-worming.

Here is some good information from the AAEP about: Equine Internal Parasites

De-Worming Pregnant Mares  -NOT in last trimester.

  • There are a lot of dewormers out there that you can use on pregnant mares but before you purchase a wormer for your mare, just check over the label quick and see if it's safe for pregnant and/or lactating mares. NEVER use Moxidectrin, one brand name is "Quest" on a Miniature Horse, there is no room for error -UNLESS you know for a fact the horses weight and  the horses history in that you are  positive it does not have a high worm load.
  • After the foal is up, dry and has had it's colostrum I then give the mare a warm mash, I also give her a little Banamine for pain. Shortly there after she will be wormed.
  • I myself never deworm a mare in the last trimester of pregnancy. I worm with tube Ivermectin on the day her foal is born, immediately after her first stool. This will passively transfer to the foal.

Shots (reactions)

  •   There is so much nice deep muscle in the rump, that is the ideal spot on a mini. It can be dangerous on a big one, but I used to give the shots in the butt of the big ones too. I sure wouldn't want a shot in the neck! I try to give two shots at a time. And I ALWAYS watch for reactions. I give the shots on a day when I will be home, give it early in the day so I can watch and if I have to call the vet it isn't overtime!
  • I always have a drawn up and ready dose of epi. with me when I'm giving inoculations.
  • I've given my own vaccines since we've had horses, & the only problem was a swollen spot on the neck and the mare did not want to lower her head, it was obvious for days she was stiff, my vet said it was caused by failing to get the injection firmly in muscle where it could be absorbed. with the smaller muscle mass on the minis, he recommends the butt site. Most years I've bought the vaccines from Jeffers, the EWT & the Rhino-flu in separate injections. We have a law in Ga. mandating that all horses in the state must have a coggins test for EIA at least once a year,  the vet comes out to do those and rabies.
  • Rhino shots are known to produce swelling and soreness sometimes especially when given in the neck. Any vaccine marked Intramuscular Injection is best given in the large muscles of the rear end along the back of the leg. Do not give them in the top of the hip/croup, or the "side" of the hip as the sciatic nerve runs between the gluteal muscles in that area. Your vet can show you the safe places to give injections, and you will save a lot of money!
  • -- If you stay in horses very long there will probably come a time a horse needs shots daily and then you can do it without having the vet out daily! --- If the amount of a med to be given is more than 2cc I also divide the dose so there isn't such a large amount that must be absorbed from one site. ALWAYS wet the intended injection site with alcohol to avoid introducing bacteria into the site as the needle penetrates the skin, this one simple, and often not done, act can prevent many abscesses and infections!
    •  --- I order my vaccines through Jeffers Equine Supply and have always been satisfied with the service and prices. You can request a catalog at 1-800-533-3377--- Cost is a bit cheaper than buying the vaccines separate like I used to. I get it by the 10 dose vials which, saves a little more.

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