AAEP Emphasizes Importance of Rabies Vaccines

AAEP Emphasizes Importance of Rabies Vaccines

The AAEP strongly recommends an annual rabies vaccine as a "core" vaccination for horses.

Photo: Erica Larson, News Editor

The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) stresses the importance of vaccinating horses to protect against rabies, a deadly but preventable neurologic disease.

The AAEP strongly recommends an annual rabies vaccine as a "core" vaccination for horses. Core vaccinations, as identified by the American Veterinary Medical Association, are vaccines "that protect from diseases that are endemic to a region, those with potential public health significance, required by law, virulent/highly infectious, and/or those posing a risk of severe disease."

Rabies is caused by a lyssavirus affecting the neurological system and salivary glands. Exposure to horses most commonly occurs through the bite of another infected (rabid) animal, typically a raccoon, skunk, bat, or fox. Clinical signs of rabies are variable and may take up to 12 weeks to appear after the initial infection. Although affected horses are sometimes asymptomatic, an infected horse can show behavioral changes, such as drowsiness, depression, fear, or aggressiveness. Once clinical signs appear, there are no treatment options.

For complete AAEP Vaccination Guidelines and instructions on properly vaccinating your horse for rabies, download TheHorse.com's Vaccination Cheat Sheet.

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