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Disease Prevention for Your Brood Mare

By Dr. Robert Hunter, DVM
As your broodmare gets closer to her calculated foaling date, your veterinarian should be consulted regarding her care. If you have arranged for her to board at your vet’s facility, she will be watched closely as the big day approaches, and your vet will have access to administer crucial disease-preventing services. Vaccines and deworming will be included in a health maintenance program; however, your vet needs to advise you so as not to impact the foal.

Your veterinarian will administer “core vaccines,” which are those considered important for every horse to have annually, regardless of geographical location or athletic use. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) describes core vaccines as those “that protect from diseases that are endemic (prevalent with a high rate of occurrence) to a region, those with potential public health significance, required by law, virulent or highly infectious, and/or those posing a risk of severe disease.”

Vaccinating pregnant mares can reduce the risk of abortion. Staying on a prescribed vaccination schedule gives the mare immunity to Rhino (EHV-1) so she doesn’t get infected and abort. The immunity is passed to her foal through maternal antibodies in the colostrum.

As a Sacramento vet, I recommend your mare be vaccinated 10 months into her pregnancy with Eastern & Western Encephalomyelitis, Tetanus, Strangles, West Nile, Influenza, Rhino (EHV) and Rabies. At this time, deworming would also be appropriate. A fecal egg count should be done at least once a year prior to deworming.

7-10 days post foaling, she should have a uterine culture, regardless of whether you are breeding back. For more information on vaccination and deworming protocols for horses, visit the Hunter Stallion Station website at www.hunterstallion.com.