Should You Vaccinate Your Horse Yourself?

by Matt

It can be tempting to vaccinate your horse yourself, especially if you have a stable full of horses and are looking to save some money. But vaccinating your horse on your own brings a number of concerns and potential issues. Below are a few points that you’ll want to consider when making that decision.

Wellness Appointments Are a Chance to Check In With Your Vet

Annual wellness appointments don’t just serve as a chance to get your horse vaccinated. They’re also a chance to check in with your vet, have your vet evaluate your horse’s health, and discuss any concerns or questions you may have. You may save money by vaccinating your horse yourself, but you won’t have the advantage of that annual check-in with your vet.

Sourcing Quality Vaccines Is a Challenge

If you plan to vaccinate your horse yourself, then give some thought about where you will buy your vaccines. Purchasing vaccines from a feed store or retailer can be a risk, because you don’t know how well those vaccines have been kept. Leaving vaccines out a little too long during shipping can cause them to get too warm, reducing or eliminating their effectiveness.

Always buy vaccines from a quality medical retailer that you can trust.

Allergic Reactions Are Possible

Allergic reactions to vaccines can and do happen. Some allergic reactions can be sudden and dramatic, requiring you to have the knowledge and ability to treat them immediately. Vets are equipped to do this, but your average horse person may not be.

Even if your horse has never had a vaccine reaction before, it’s possible that he may develop an allergy as he ages, or if he is given a vaccine from a particular batch. Make sure that you understand the risks of allergic reactions before you decide to administer your own vaccinations.

Mistakes Happen

If you give vaccines yourself, take some time to be sure that you can do the process correctly. You should only take this on if you can confidently and correctly give IM shots, and if you can be certain that you are not injecting into a vein.

Many Shows and Barns Require Vaccination Records

More and more horse shows and boarding barns are requiring vaccination records. If you give vaccinations yourself, you won’t have the official records from your vet. It may be more challenging to get shows or barns to accept your personal records.

If you do give vaccines, then be sure to save the original packaging, including the lot numbers. Attach the packages to paper which includes the date that they were given, and the name of the horse that received them.

The Decision Of Whether To Vaccinate Yourself

Only you can decide how comfortable you are with vaccinating your horse yourself. There are certain pros and cons that go along with taking on this task, so it’s important to understand the risks before you make this decision.

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