San Juan Veterinary Hospital

2197 E Hwy 160
Pagosa Springs, CO 81147


Who should administer your horse’s vaccine?

San Juan Veterinary Hospital takes the task of tailoring a vaccine strategy for your horse seriously.  Not all vaccines are created equally.  We believe in treating for preventable diseases and take effort to select those vaccines with the best efficacy and least chance of adverse reaction.  We are knowledgeable with the location and expected outcome of vaccine administration.  We store and handle all vaccines with care. Manufactures of vaccines will not compensate for losses or side effects of their vaccine unless they have the assurance that a licensed veterinarian administered the vaccine.  The purpose of a vaccine is to make its recipient resistant to a disease.   We adhere to a protocol that is within the standard of care for horses in veterinary medicine.  Consider having a trained veterinarian provide the right vaccine for your horse.

What should I vaccinate against?

Currently the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) helps to establish that standard of care.  The AAEP recommends giving all adult horses certain “core” vaccines.  These core vaccines are: Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), Western Equine Encephalitis (WEE), West Nile Virus (WNV), Tetanus, and Rabies.  There are other vaccines that may or may not be well-suited for your horse depending on their risk for exposure to the disease.  Each animal should be evaluated separately.

Why should I vaccinate?

Core vaccines are recommended because there are effective vaccines that prevent diseases with serious and life threatening complications.  EEE, WNV, and WEE, also known as “sleeping sickness”, are all diseases that are contracted through the bite of an insect.  They are all serious diseases that can be fatal by causing neurologic problems (seizure, stumbling, fever, meningitis, and death).  Tetnus or is transmitted by a bacterium called Clostridium tetani.  When a horse is injured with a penetrating wound the spores from C. tetani may be introduced into the wound.  This, too, is often fatal. Lastly there is rabies.  Rabies is transmitted through the bite of an infected animal, often a skunk, coyote, raccoon or bat.  When the virus reaches the brain of your horse, it is 100% fatal.  While one may think that these animals wound never bite a horse or that horses never get rabies, think again, there have been several documented cases of skunk bites in horses in Colorado this year, which is why the AAEP added it to the list of core vaccines. 

When is a good time to vaccinate?

Springtime is when insects begin to emerge and hatch from their winter dormancy.  There fore, diseases that that are spread through the bite of an insect (WEE, WNV, EEE) are transmitted in the spring, making it an ideal time to vaccinate. Spring is often the time that outdoor pack animals begin to prepare for the summer.  Packing and hunting is often when we see penetrating injuries.  Therefore, springtime is also a good time to vaccinate against tetanus.  While skunks and other rabies-transmitting animals are out all year, they are more commonly encountered in the spring/summer months and rabies is on the rise in Colorado.  Spring is an important time of year for protecting the health of your horse, consider having them vaccinated.  Please search our online library for more information on vaccination on your horse or other animals.