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How many vaccinations are needed?

To protect against a particular disease, your horse will generally need more than one dose of a vaccine. A primary course of vaccines are given relatively close together to previously unvaccinated horses. Booster vaccinations are given at longer intervals to previously vaccinated horses to maintain immunity.

Primary course vaccinations

For most vaccines, one dose does not provide the necessary degree of immunity. More than one dose of vaccine is needed to stimulate the immune system to produce enough antibodies to protect against the disease. A series of vaccinations is required – usually over a period of weeks – to get antibodies to the required levels. These first vaccinations are called the primary course.

Booster vaccinations

Over time, the levels of antibodies begin to fall and immunity starts to wear off. To continue protecting your horse, a booster vaccination is given which ‘tops up’ your horse’s immunity levels. The time taken for antibody levels to fall varies for each vaccine. Your vet can advise when your horse needs booster vaccinations to continue protecting against different diseases.