Is Your Horse Unprotected? Be Aware of Core Equine Disease Risks

Horse at risk of contagious diseases.
Horse at risk of contagious diseases. Shutterstock

Newsdate: May 15, 2018, 10:30 am
Location: PARSIPPANY, New Jersey

If your horse does not receive annual vaccinations against the five core equine diseases, his life could be at stake. You love your horse like a family member; however, your horse is facing grave disease dangers that you may have overlooked, which could cost him his life.

Preventing horse disease dangers.

Preventing horse disease dangers

A horse that is alone out in the pasture can still get rabies, can still get tetanus, can still get West Nile, and can still get Eastern and Western equine encephalomyelitis.
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The threat of deadly equine diseases like rabies and West Nile is closer than you think. Don’t leave your horse exposed — help protect him through annual vaccinations against the five core diseases: rabies, Eastern and Western equine encephalomyelitis, tetanus and West Nile.

“A horse that is alone out in the pasture can still get rabies, can still get tetanus, can still get West Nile, and can still get Eastern and Western [equine encephalomyelitis],” said Bonnie R. Rush, DVM, MS, DACVIM, Interim Dean at Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “It’s important for horse owners to understand the consequences of not vaccinating their horse for these diseases.”

Core diseases can be a death sentence. The fatality rates are grim. With the statistics outlined below, horse owners should strongly reconsider leaving their horse’s survival to chance.

  • Rabies: 100%1
  • Eastern equine encephalomyelitis: 90%1
  • Western equine encephalomyelitis: 50%1
  • Tetanus: 75%2
  • West Nile: 33% 1

Core disease vaccination is the foundation for equine wellness.

Viral respiratory and neurologic diseases are the leading preventable causes of death in horses.3 No matter what your horse does – pleasure or performance – or where he lives, exposure to core disease vectors like mosquitoes, soil and wild animals cannot be prevented. Vaccination is the only way to help protect horses from these deadly diseases. The core vaccination guidelines were created by the American Association of Equine Practitioners, the leading group of equine veterinarians. Annual vaccinations are recommended as part of overall equine wellness.

In this video, you can hear more insights from Dr. Rush about core equine diseases and protection through annual vaccinations. Be sure to discuss your horse’s vaccination needs with your veterinarian, and visit for additional information and resources.

About Zoetis

Zoetis (NYSE: ZTS) is the leading animal health company, dedicated to supporting its customers and their businesses. Building on more than 60 years of experience in animal health, Zoetis discovers, develops, manufactures and markets veterinary vaccines and medicines, complemented by diagnostic products, genetic tests, biodevices and a range of services. Zoetis serves veterinarians, livestock producers and people who raise and care for farm and companion animals with sales of its products in more than 100 countries. In 2017, the company generated annual revenue of $5.3 billion with approximately 9,000 employees. For more information, visit

merican Association of Equine Practitioners. Vaccination Guidelines. Accessed April 16, 2018.

2 MacKay R. Tetanus. In: Sellon DC, Long M, eds. Equine Infectious Diseases, 2nd ed. St. Louis, MO: Saunders Elsevier, 2007:368-372.

3 Baseline Reference of Equine Health and Management in the United States, 2015. United States Department of Agriculture.

Accessed April 16, 2018.

About the Author

Flossie Sellers

Author picture

As an animal lover since childhood, Flossie was delighted when Mark, the CEO and developer of EquiMed asked her to join his team of contributors.

She enrolled in My Horse University at Michigan State and completed a number of courses in everything related to horse health, nutrition, diseases and conditions, medications, hoof and dental care, barn safety, and first aid.

Staying  up-to-date on the latest developments in horse care and equine health is now a habit, and she enjoys sharing a wealth of information with horse owners everywhere..