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How to keep your foals in fine health

It's our favourite time of year – foaling season! Here at Health4Horses, we love those lanky-legged little things. But foals are vulnerable to infectious disease and it's up to us to make sure they remain as healthy as possible. Here's what you need to know.

Don't wait to vaccinate

According to the Equine Infectious Diseases Advisory Board, all horses younger than 12 months need vaccinations against:

  • Tetanus
  • Strangles
  • Equine Herpes virus
  • Hendra virus

Tackle tetanus

Tetanus is a bacterial disease that can prove fatal. Fortunately, you can keep your foal safe with vaccination. From three months of age, your foal needs two doses, not less than four weeks apart, to start their tetanus immunity.

Stop strangles before it starts

Strangles is a highly contagious respiratory disease. To help prevent strangles taking hold, all it takes is three vaccine doses, not less than two weeks apart from three months of age.

Reduce the risks of Equine Herpes Virus

Young horses are particularly at risk of equine herpes virus, which can cause respiratory and neurological disease. Foals need two doses, four weeks apart from three months of age with Duvaxyn EHV 1,4.

Keep foals safe from deadly Hendra virus

The Hendra virus causes a deadly viral disease that can be spread from horse to horse, and also from horse to human. There are no known treatments for Hendra virus – but you can vaccinate against it. From four months of age, foals should receive two doses, three to six weeks apart, followed by six monthly boosters.

Protect your horse from foal to adult

By the time your foal is a year old, it should have received all of the vaccinations we've discussed. From the age of 12 months, horses should receive periodic boosters for tetanus, strangles and equine herpes virus, and additional boosters for Hendra virus. Your vet can advise on the exact requirements for your horse.

Ask your vet about the vaccines you need to help protect your foal against infectious diseases.