Can we stop saying that side effects are "normal" with shots?!

Can we stop saying that side effects are "normal" with shots?!
If you're like me and your horse has had a reaction to a spring or fall shot, then you may already be in this frame of mind or way of thinking...

It is not normal for our horses to be sick after getting their shots.  

This should be a huge, waving red flag to horse owners.   Repeating the same vaccines year after year horse owners must realize that this indiscriminate vaccine schedule, that is recommended to them, is not really about protecting their horses.  There are side effects like swelling, fever, hives, colic symptoms, disorientation, lethargy and more!  The overabundance of these vaccines builds up in the body causing a vaccinosis.  It just doesn't make a whole lot of sense to create a variety of health issues, some permanent, just to avoid the potential of a problem.  Problems that can be avoided through good health and horse keeping. 

I can remember talking with a client about their pony who had bouts of laminitis every spring.  It was always after the traditional spring shots had been administered.  I suggested she skip the shots from now on and see how her pony does.   It was no surprise to me that the pony had no problems with laminitis that spring.  He was turned out with a grazing muzzle and spent his time happily with the herd!

Did you know you can get a titer?  Titers are a way to learn the protection status of your horse.  This is valuable if you have a horse and have no knowledge of his background and previous care.  Titers are a blood test to measure the antibodies for specific antigens which develop from previous exposure or previous vaccine against a disease.  A positive titer means the horse is sufficiently protected and remains that way for a number of years.   So titers can be spread out over a few years.  It seems to me that this is a much safer option for the horse.  When you know what the horse is already sufficiently protected from, then you don't need to vaccinate again.  

Instead of staying in the same pattern of shots every spring and fall, take a look at your horse's lifestyle.   There are things to consider to determine if your horses are at risk and the diseases that may be threatening in your area.   Do your horses stay at home all the time?  Do they travel and go to events?  Does your horse have any pre-existing health conditions?  This is a big one right here!  Horses with compromised health of any kind should not be vaccinated (it says it on the vaccine data sheet)!  Unfortunately, it happens more often than I care to know.

As your horse's caregiver, it is up to you to become educated on this and other care topics.  Once  you learn more,  you will then be able to make an informed decision for the health of your horse.  A  short while back I did an interview with holistic veterinarian Dr. Barb Fox in my holistic care community The Hearts Of Horses, Empowering Through Holistic Care.  She offers a great holistic care perspective on this topic along with important lifestyle features to consider when deciding on vaccines for your horse.  If you'd like to watch the interview, you can see it here.

Once you become more knowledgeable on topics like vaccines, it makes it easier to ask questions of our professionals.  Having the confidence to ask questions can be difficult, but when it's our horse's care at stake... it is our responsibility to do the best we can for them.  Take the time to ask questions with your veterinarian, have a conversation.  Hopefully, they will be open to answering your questions.   If not, and they are not willing to work with you, know that you can seek out new professionals (vet, dentist, hoof care etc.) who are in line with how you feel about your horse's care.

Remember, you are the decision maker for your horse's care.  You hire the professionals to work with you and for you and your horses.  No one knows your horses as well as you do.  The decisions are yours.   Learn more and empower yourself to be the best care giver that you can be.  

Join our Hearts of Horses community and learn even more about supporting the health and wellness of your horses.

All the best,