(Dan) Glad you joined us today. We’re gonna have a great show. Our friend and colleague Dr. Chris Blevins is here to talk about equine vaccine strategies. Thanks for watching Doc Talk and more right after this message.
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(Dan) Dr. Blevins welcome to the show. (Chris) Thank you doctor. (Dan) It’s great to have Dr. Chris Blevins. Y’all have seen him before on the show. He’s a great asset to not only Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and our vet students, but also a great asset to the equine practice, to the equine industry and to our profession. And I just appreciate all that you do. He is an associate professor here and he’s the head of our equine ambulatory service at the Veterinary Health Center. Sees a lot of horses, teach a lot of students. And we’re gonna talk something…but it’s probably one of the most common things you’re asked is vaccines. (Chris) Yea. (Dan) So, let’s jump right into it. How do you vaccine? How does the body, or how do horse’s bodies respond to vaccines? You know I think that’s an interesting question and something that probably a lot of owners if they would understand vaccines, they would be able to implement more vaccine strategies in their own farms. And so how vaccines work are, that vaccines are a foreign body for the horse. And so you inject this foreign substance into the horse’s system and they react to it. And a lot of times based on their immune system and it’s just you or I, if we get vaccines, it can make ’em sore and those things periodically. But it allows for antibodies and other spots of the immune system to respond and then if they get insulted with the actual disease they can fight off that disease. And so, it doesn’t happen like necessarily right when you give the vaccine-now they’re protected. It usually takes about two to three weeks if it’s a booster. And sometimes longer if they’ve never seen that vaccine before it could be out to a month to two months before they’re then fully protected. (Dan) So, basically we’re just giving them the pathogen or the bacteria or the virus, either killed or changed, giving it to them just like if they would be exposed to the disease, in a small amount enough that it doesn’t make ’em sick, but a big enough amount that they form the immune response against it. (Chris) Right. And you know that’s why you know, a lot of these vaccine companies it takes a lot of work to make those vaccines cause they have to have that happy medium on making sure that we get what we need out of the vaccine for the horse. (Dan) Yea, without causing the disease. So, the one thing that you made comment there that I think is important for people to understand is that if you get the…if you give a vaccine it doesn’t give you protection tomorrow. (Chris) Right, right. Yea, and that’s what…a lot of people though give a vaccine to a horse, then they’ve got a horse show. So, they’re gonna go right to the horse show the next day. And then the horse gets sick or something if it’s some kind of respiratory deal, more likely. And then they’re saying, well I just vaccinated my horse, I should be protected from that disease, but you have to remember it’s not instantaneous, the body has to respond to that vaccine. (Dan) Yep. And I think that…make sure you work with your local practitioner, make sure that you understand that not all…no vaccine is 100 percent. (Chris) Yea. (Dan) And that there’s a delay to it. (Chris) Exactly right. (Dan) Cool. Well, we’ll take a break. Thanks for being here. (Chris) Thank you. (Dan) Thank you for being here. We always appreciate y’all watching Doc Talk. When we come back we’re gonna talk about the core vaccine strategies and some of the risk based vaccine strategies for horses. You’re watching Doc Talk. More in a minute.
(Dan) Welcome back to Doc Talk. Dr. Dan Thomson here with Dr. Chris Blevins, who is a clinical professor here at Kansas State University’s Department of Clinical Sciences where he serves as the head of Equine Ambulatory Services for the Veterinary Health Center. And when we left, we really did a nice job, I thought you did a nice job of talking about how vaccines work. But let’s jump into some of those vaccines. And I understand there are core vaccines and then there are risk-based vaccines. And this is established by who? (Chris) So, it’s established by the American Association of Equine Practitioners. So, a kind of tenancy board or a gathering of equine veterinarians or group organization that came up with this based on a task that they put together, a task management system and found these are what we should as veterinarians recommend for horses based on different situations. And how they broke ’em down is the core vaccines versus risk-based vaccines. So, two separate groups of vaccines for the horse and we talk about core vaccines-those are every horse in the United States, should get these vaccines. (Dan) OK. (Chris) And so no matter what they’re doing these are the vaccines that are very important for the horse, even if they’re out in a pasture by themselves. And so with those vaccines that would be tetanus, equine encephalitis, so eastern and western equine encephalomyelitis. (Dan) Yep. (Chris) Those are two of them there. And then you have West Nile and rabies. And so those are every horse in the U.S. should get those vaccines. (Dan) And so, let’s talk a little bit. You know, tetanus has been one of those vaccines that other species don’t get. (Chris) Right. (Dan) But horses seem to be extremely sensitive to tetanus infections and tetanus issues. (Chris) Right and that is something that’s very crucial to making sure that we keep them up to date on. They’re more sensitive than us, as people we get tetanus vaccines, but not as frequent as horses do. And so they are more sensitive to this disease and because they’re out in dirt, day in and day out, and with any wound or even puncture wound, we have to make sure they’re current on their tetanus status. (Dan) And tetanus would be the lock jaw. The what we would typically call, or the layman’s term. (Chris) Right. (Dan) Eastern and western, talk to me a little bit about that. (Chris) So eastern and western encephalomyelitis, those are two viruses that are transmitted by mosquitoes. And so birds can also harbor the disease and then transmit it through mosquitoes to horses. This disease does not go from horse to horse though, has to go through a mosquito. A mosquito doesn’t bite at one horse and then go to another horse and bite it, it has to go through a bird system for that. Horses are dead-end hosts with these two types of viruses. And what they show-neurologic signs. Some of them look like they’re just sleeping. So, that’s why it’s called sleeping sickness. Sometimes what you’ll hear is a common name. And with that, but really they get depressed, they can get neurologic- stumble, fall down, can’t rise, those kind of things. (Dan) Cool, kinda like the West Nile. (Chris) Yes. (Dan) Very similar in the transfer and the vectors and things to that. But rabies, we gotta go to a break, but rabies is one that’s maybe newer on the list of core, but something a veterinarian has to give. (Chris) Veterinarian has to give that. Cause neurologic signs, they get exposed to wildlife every day, so we gotta vaccinate ’em for ’em. (Dan) Thanks. When we come back we’ll talk about some of the risk based vaccines with Dr. Chris Blevins.
(Dan) Folks, welcome back to Doc Talk. Dr. Dan Thomson with Dr. Chris Blevins and we’re both at Kansas State University’s College of Veterinarian Medicine where Dr. Blevins serves as the head of the Equine Ambulatory Service here at our teaching hospital and is also an associate professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences. Always great to have you on the show and we talked about the core vaccines being tetanus, eastern and western encephalitis, rabies and West Nile. (Chris) Yep. (Dan) But then there are the risk-based and what are the risks…what do they base this on that moves it out of a core to a risk-based. (Chris) So, with risk-based vaccines it doesn’t meant that every horse in the U.S. needs these vaccines, it’s gonna be based on risk. And so those risks could be geographic location, so where they’re located within the United States, communicable diseases, so are they going to shows and maybe around a lot of other horses, would be something else. Or maybe what they’re used for-breeding, so stallions versus some of the mares, to try to prevent abortions. So all those are different types of things, situations, individual uses of horses that we determine if the risk is high enough where they need to be vaccinated for those diseases. (Dan) And this is really something that your veterinarian is gonna understand where you live, what you’re going through and really the point source of information. (Chris) You’re exactly right. And because horse travel a lot, maybe what things, where you’re traveling to. Talk with your veterinarian and see if you need to add extra things to those vaccine protocols based on traveling and just competing in different areas or regions. (Dan) Never thought of that. So, let’s get into a couple of these that you had listed-strangles is one and the other? (Chris) Yea, strangles and then like rhino and flu, those are all three respiratory types of diseases that can affect the horse here in the United States. All are based on risk-based vaccines. Some people think that rhino and flu are part of the core vaccines, but not necessarily. If they’re not around a lot of other horses, because it’s just a communicable disease meaning from horse to horse. And so if they’re going to be traveling to a lot of shows, then we add those flu and rhino type vaccines. Those vaccines also are usually only good for six months. And so if they’re going to be going to shows, yea we give it in the spring realm of all the rest of the vaccines, but we may booster them in the fall if they’re still going to shows in the fall and winter with those. (Dan) And that’s with the flu, rhino. (Chris) Yea, flu, rhino and with strangles, it’s the same thing. (Dan) It’s a six month. (Chris) It would be a six month boostering on those if needed. The thing I think that most individuals need to remember about the strangles vaccine is that it can cause other situations. Be careful with that vaccine. Consult with your veterinarian before you use that vaccine because they can react to the vaccine in very bad ways. (Dan) Right. And make sure you give it in the proper…if it’s an intranasal, make sure you give it as an intranasal. (Chris) Yea, intranasal, yep. (Dan) Yep, yep. Other thoughts on the risk-based vaccines prior to going to commercial? (Chris) Yea, I think the biggest thing is making sure you talk to your veterinarian and make a game plan right at the beginning of the year so you know what you need to protect your horse with. (Dan) Perfect thanks. When we come back more with Dr. Chris Blevins about when to give these vaccines and to what horses. Thanks for joining us more after this message.
(Dan) Folks, welcome back to Doc Talk. Dr. Dan Thomson with Dr. Chris Blevins where Dr. Blevins is an associate professor of Clinical Sciences and the head of our Equine Ambulatory Service at the teaching…Veterinary Health Center, I can’t quite transfer the name yet, we have a new name, we’re getting there. But Dr. Blevins sees a lot of horses, and is around a lot of horses here in the area and sees horses that are referred into the Veterinary Hospital. We’re tickled to death to have him on our faculty. And if you need an equine veterinarian, he’s tops in my book. So, give us a call. Let’s talk about the… about the timing of the vaccines, OK? What’s the difference in some of the vaccines, when we’re gonna give ’em, how often we’re gonna give ’em too and just kind of walk through the young…let’s start with the younger horses and then go to the mature ones. (Chris) Right and with the young horses, we start vaccinating them, so foals, usually during weaning age. So, four to six months of age is when we’d start vaccinating them. (Dan) OK. (Chris) Because they’re getting their immune system from the Momma’s colostrum when they’re first born. So, just like calves or some other species, they have the colostrum that’s protecting them initially and then we’ll start boostering them later on. A lot of the other…dogs and cats, we start four to six weeks of age. Just remember in horses it’s four to six months of age when we start vaccinating ’em. Give that first vaccine. A lot of owners forget to booster that vaccine in one month after the first insult of that vaccine. So, you need and have to, to help with protection, all those vaccines need to be boostered in one month. OK, on that first vaccine, or that first vaccination, you’re gonna give the core, give ’em all four of the…(Chris) Right. (Dan) The core the tetanus, eastern, western, rabies and West Nile and potentially give ’em… (Chris) Other ones too depending on risk. (Dan) The other risk-based. And then you’re gonna come back, a month later you’re gonna do the exact same vaccines again. (Chris) Right. Yea, so you have to have that first one and then you gotta booster all those same ones in one month. (Dan) Very similar to what we do in cattle when we’re like replacing heifer or animals that we’re gonna keep on the ranch, we’re gonna come in and vaccinate them at weaning and then come back and booster those breeding heifers. (Chris) Right. (Dan) What about the older horses and I’ll break it down into mares and the other horses? (Chris) So with other horses, and again consulting with your veterinarian it’s gonna be very important on these, all these vaccines though especially the core vaccines, we need to get prior to the mosquito season. And so one month before we think mosquitoes are gonna be out, we should be vaccinating those core vaccines especially in the year. So when you’re thinking about that, here in this region it’s gonna be around April in most areas. It’s gonna be around the April time frame, March/April, maybe the beginning of May when we give that booster on those vaccines annually with those core. (Dan) OK, so we’re gonna vaccinate annually and make sure we do it. And on the mares, the difference between mares and these? (Chris) Yea, with mares making sure the vaccines are safer for pregnancy. Talk to your veterinarian. We have to stay away from the modified live type vaccines on these mares when they are pregnant because the vaccine itself could cause an abortion. So, you want to make sure you give the safe vaccines and give them 30 days prior to foaling so it gets in the colostrum for the foal. (Dan) Perfect. Thanks for being here today. (Chris) Well thank you. (Dan) Thanks for watching Doc Talk. If you want to know more about what Dr. Blevins and I do here at K-State, you can find us on the web at www.vet.ksu.edu. Remember always work with your local practitioner. I’m Dan Thomson, you’ve been watching Doc Talk. We appreciate it. And I’ll see you down the road.
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