Approximately 1,270 readers of TheHorse.com responded to a poll asking, "Which two vaccinations do you feel are most important?"

results of poll on vaccinations

Results were as follows: 
  • West Nile virus (WNV) 58.27% (740)
  • Rabies 52.83% (671)
  • Sleeping sickness (EE, WEE, VEE) 49.61% (630)
  • Influenza 24.88% (316)
  • Equine herpes virus (EHV) 8.35% (106)
  • Potomac Horse Fever (PHF) 4.72% (60)

(Readers were asked to choose the top two they vaccinate for.)

Readers shared why they choose the two selections in the comments below.

Poll sponsored by Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health

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  • Rabies because it is common in area wildlife WNV as when infected is more serious than influenza, WE
  • side effects of the vaccines for the remaining list outweigh the benefit to vaccinating
  • RV #1;hard to choose between WNV&EEE; mosuitos VERY bad on my farm all summer.
  • horses that are only trail ridden and are out to pasture need WN and Rabies more than others.
  • The others don´t occur in my country.
  • African Horse Sickness too, when you live in Africa!
  • While I vaccinate for all, these two are deadly in my area.
  • no cure if horse is infected
  • my horses don't travel so I don't have to worry much
  • Tetanus and rhino b/c i've had both at one time
  • could be life threatening
  • Because these are communicable diseases that humans can catch
  • Most die from WNV if they are exposed
  • Both vaccines are very effective and the diseases are fatal
  • And tetanus.
  • I vaccinate against rabies, tetnus, SS, WN, Herpes, and flu
  • most common
  • most prevalent in our area, reactions to WNV
  • In local area
  • Mosquito-carrying disease; lots of mosquitoes in Florida!
  • most easily spread
  • chances of horse getting WNV or EEE/WEE/VEE greater due to huge mosquito population in Wisc.
  • I'm interested
  • In the country, we are more liable to have rabid animals, plus it's common for horses to get flu.
  • Live out west where rabies does not seem to be an issue, but we do get a heavy mosquito season!!!
  • they seem to be the bigger threat in the area
  • Most prevalent in our area.
  • They are very common infections that are deadly.
  • Almost 100% deadly
  • i am in mosquito prone area for 6-8 months. rabies is #3--all of these will most likely cause death
  • in my area mosquitoes never go away, hence mosquito born disease is everthreatening
  • 1 is required in my state for a traveling horse
  • in Africa we vaccinate for rabies tetnus and African Horse sickness
  • You can't expect me to pick just two.
  • I am in a mosquito populated area
  • Where is tetanus? That's my #1 answer.
  • I lost a yearling to sleeping sickness and all animals so be protected from rabies
  • Because I live in Florida. Rabies and Tetanus are very important, also.
  • they are all important however eee and rabies are the most dangerous to humans
  • also important is tetnus
  • Geesh you forgot to list Tetanus, that would've been # 1
  • No cure for either
  • I'm in Florida--Mosquitos!!
  • 100% fatal
  • these have the lowest survival rates of the several diseases addressed.
  • They are carried by mosquitos and it's impossible to keep mosquitos out of the barn and pasture.
  • Most common of the most deadly diseases. Horses can recover from flu,
  • My horse gets all the shots recommended in our area. Including strangles vaccination. He shows
  • These seem most likely to occur
  • These two would be the most prevalent in our area, although no cases have been reported in our count
  • most likely to die from
  • I am unable to pick just two. living in the south you need eee,wee,rabies, flu and wnv
  • But we give them all!
  • rabies will kill us eee can to
  • they are the most prevalent on farms and ranches and are new to our area of the US
  • the most important on my list is tetanus. It should be on yours!
  • Lots of mosquitos and rabies is zoonotic
  • 2 things I have no control over to minimize risk
  • found most in my area
  • what about tetnus? It depends on where you live.
  • what about tetnas
  • If horses never leave home or come in contact with others, herpes and flu aren't as deadly
  • living in the desert helps control west nile and rabies is on the rise in the desert
  • These are the 2 which apply to my horses
  • Why is tetanus not on the list? That is the most important one of all!!!!
  • I give WNV and tetanus
  • Tetanus is the most easily contracted
  • potential for death
  • rabies and EEE/WEE/VEE because both are deadly, and zoonotic.
  • Low or no occurrences of other issues in our geographic area
  • There have been very few cases of West nile or rabies,but prevention is key .
  • no cure for rabies and sleeping sickness has a high mortality rate
  • Easy to spread
  • my veterinary tells me they are and I believe in my veterinary
  • BECAUSE IT IS CARRIED BY MOSQUITOS
  • life and death issues
  • illness that can spread and kill quickly
  • They protet against the most serious diseases that are prevalent in my area
  • You forgot tetnus and botulism!
  • most common in our area
  • it kills
  • Alot of "critters" live in the woods where we live!
  • Most likeley in my area
  • can't prevent mosquitos or wildlife contact
  • My horse is boarded
  • You can't cure either.
  • Deadly diseases transmissible to humans!
  • So hard to pick only 2! I'm forced to get rabies but it's not at the top of my list.
  • rabies is 100% fatal and is endemic in wildlife. EEE/WEE, etc occur in the region and are high risk
  • they are the most likely disease your horse can get.
  • What, tetanus is not a choice? My 2 are tet and rabies.
  • WN still has active cases occuring
  • they present more of a threat to the horses life
  • I think THREE are important, WNV, rabies and encephalitis
  • Lost a brave strong horse to Rabies, vax annually now
  • WNV-EEE/WEE/VEE-Rabies are the most important!
  • most deadlyand most zoonotic
  • Safety to both poeple and other horses. Also do tetanus since wounds of all types allow bacteria in.
  • Where is tetanus?
  • in my area, these diseases pose the greatest risk, with rabies and PHF following the mosquitoe born
  • The rest is regional.
  • Both are quite deadly and both are prevelant where I live.
  • Rabies and WNV have serious side effects or high fatality rates and all horses could be infected
  • prevalence
  • VERY easy to get, VERY hard to treat!
  • what about tetnus?
  • West Nile virus is really scary. Necropsies showed brain lesions in birds after "cured" (ChicagoZoo)
  • The only one prevalent in my area
  • Rabies is very important also but you allowed only two selections
  • Depends where you are or traveling. Normal is Tetnus E/W, Influenza, WNV+area; Rabies/PHF rare here.
  • Vaccinosis is very real!! Educate yourself and trust that a strong immune sys. is the answer!
  • more prevalent
  • Rabies &EWT
  • Also Rabis is very inportant as we live by a river and woods
  • prevelance of occurrence
  • west nile is becoming bad, and the other that is not even an option is tetanus
  • In So. Cal these two are a must for health animal
  • I live in Mosquito land
  • 100% effective against diseases with 100% mortality
  • Just feel they are the most common.
  • I have seen more reports of rabies.
  • Tetanus is not on the list but is my second choice
  • most common and most deadly
  • these are the biggest risk in the area I live, especially rabies!
  • only because you left out tetanus
  • Its in the area
  • I would have also chosen rabies, but since only allowed 2 it was EEE and W Nile
  • most dangerous
  • If I could pick 3 or 4 -- I always include influenza & strangles vaccines & this year--rabies.
  • mosquitos are everywhere and Rhino is easily contracted from surfaces
  • Horses are exposed to the threat of contracting these the most often
  • In my area, WNV is a danger, and sleeping sickness too. Well, rabies.
  • EEE & rabies are the most deadly; rabies can be easily spread to humans & other pets
  • Well actually there are three but I can only chose two. WNV is the main killer around here.
  • transmitted to people
  • Rabies important, too, but likelihood of horses getting bitten by mosquitos probably far greater.
  • Flu and Tetanus, though you didn't include tet in your list.
  • Some of the others aren't around in this area/don't bring horses anywhere
  • aid in prevention of abortion of healthy mares and the health of our racing stock
  • Rabies and encephalitis can kill. The others, in healthy individuals, can survive with good nursing
  • this is what is most common in our area
  • These two both cause neurological disorders.
  • most common in my area
  • In my area thses diseases are most likely to occur.
  • These are the most prevalent diseases in our area.
  • You did not include TETANUS, by far the most important!
  • They are the most common illnesses in my part of the country
  • most common in my area and hardest to treat
  • Life threatening
  • mosquito born infections are more prevalent than infections/bites from other animals
  • WNV is also critical for stay at home horses
  • Rabies & West Nile come from Animals/insects in which owners have little control.
  • Rabies will kill if the animal is exposed to it and PHF is rampant in the area where I live.
  • mortality rate for these two are the highest
  • They are the two sicknesses most prevelent
  • West Nile and Rabies most common in the area
  • Because they are fatal.
  • my 2 guys are out in a pasture most of the time and do not come into contact with other horse
  • More common
  • Most likely in our area, and fatal or cost prohibitive treatment
  • Rabies is fatal if not caught before symptoms develop. We travel w/ our horse.
  • For the area of where I live I feel these are most dangerous. Although I give my horse all the vacs
  • The way they are transmitted
  • my horses get all that are needed for my area- hard to choose only 2
  • Live in Florida - need to allow West Nile
  • strangles for me is even more inportent then Rabies
  • Most all are important...hard to pick just two.
  • These two have been in the area
  • Likely causes of great economic loss in commercial horse enterprises
  • I live in the Gulf Coast where mosquito-born disease is a problem
  • Difficult to pick two - all are very important. Rabies especially.
  • regional exposure risks
  • No problem here within N.W. WA.,with WNV, EHV, Rabies, and PHF. But, I do plan to Vac.the WNV & Rab
  • I think tetnus would be the most important
  • Rabies because it’s so common and deadly, then EE strains or WN, depending on local prevalence
  • I believe Tetanus is one of the most important. Rabies and Enceph is easier to prevent than to cure.
  • I would have voted tetanus as one, but it wasn't a choice
  • WHY ONLY TWO??????
  • most prevalent threat in Alabama
  • Rabies infection is lethal and serious concerns for human transmission exist.
  • You left out tetanus! Then the sleeping sicknesses & west nile, just cause of location in So Cal!
  • For human safety.
  • why don't you have tentanus? I feel this is perhaps the most important, then WNV, for non-traveller
  • Because of the complications and side effects. I used to worry about PHF when I lived in MI
  • Most deadly - tetanus should be included.
  • Regional risk factors. Why isn't tetanus on the list???
  • The amount of mosquitos!
  • no cure for the illness
  • In my area (south west coast, Canada) this is what my vet recommends. Tetanus is THE Most important
  • very contagious and makes the horse very sick or kills them
  • i want to pick sleeping sickness also
  • In Coastal Texas mosquitos are terrible. We do all of those shots listed yearly.
  • we have major mosquitos here
  • Hard to pick only 2 - we give vewt, wnv and rabies. all prevalent here in Texas
  • Most likely to die if infected
  • most common illness and most treatable with vaccine
  • tetanus and rabies
  • My horses are outside 24-7 in the summer. Therefore, could be infected.
  • We live around a lot of water and wildlife
  • other illnesses are not common to our area
  • Area I live in, tetanus not list, would supplant EEE, etc.
  • Both in my area. Both fatal.
  • because the mortality rate is so high
  • can't fix rabies: encephalits so debilitating, what about TETANUS!
  • Tetenus should be in the top two.
  • they are contagious
  • top on my list
  • Influenza most common, pasture or barn kept can be exposed to sick critters.
  • They are both mosquito born and and wide spread.
  • I also think Strangles as these are what we might see here in SC.
  • most fatal
  • Because humans can contract these two viruses as well
  • Rabies is deadly to hores & human and often overlooked
  • 5-way & Rabies
  • tetanus
  • these are the commom found diseases in this area
  • I like to give the 4way vaccine
  • Rabies because my horses are out 24/7 and there's lots of wildlife. I would alsohave picked tetanus
  • besides rabies, WNV, I would also include EEE & influenza
  • I do a 6 in one, plus rabies, this was a hard choice
  • We give tetanus as part of the EEE/WEE/VEE. Tetanus and Rabies can easily kill even a backyard hors
  • Rabies is lethal and preventable. EHV is very contagious, so vaccinating is important.
  • Wow, MOST are important!
  • We haven't had any incidences of EHV,PHF or rabies where I live
  • You did not offer my #1 choice-Tetnus.
  • And tetanus. PHF vaccine is worthless!
  • Rabies is active in this area.
  • I believe that tetanus is more important than either one of these.
  • no cure for wither one
  • there is no cure for rabies, and sleeping sickness is very hard to cure.
  • Why don't you list Tetanus? That should be there.
  • these are the two most serious infections...I have critters near me, no rabies, or wee/eee/vee
  • That is the most common diseases horses get here in florida
  • Most risk in my area-FL
  • They are indemic in my area. I'm suprised tetnus isn't on your list though.
  • I only checked one because tetanus isn't on the list an I can't buy Rabies shots d
  • there have been known outbreaks in my area
  • if there's no cure then forget "ounce of prevention is worth pound of cure"
  • I would like to add tetnus to your list. Horses are always rubbing on gates. west nile is common
  • Rabies is a death sentence
  • These diseases are passable to humans
  • these are the worst and most common
  • Tetanus is also very important
  • easily spreadable and very min. basic vacinations
  • Depending on your area, WNV/Tetanus are critical
  • These are most prevalent here - my horse is not in a herd.
  • and tetanus!
  • both are deadly
  • I think WNV just as important but it's hard to pick only two when they are ALL VERY important!
  • most prevalent in my area
  • EEE etc., & rabies because these are the most likely ailments to afflict the horse
  • highest risk locally
  • They are the big ones in this area
  • followed by Sleeping Sickness, Flu & EHV no PHF in my area
  • Sleeping sickness and influenza are standard vacs but West Nile has become a must now!
  • Deadly and can be prevented.
  • most deadly and common
  • Tetanus
  • why isn't tentis on the list?
  • The other vaccine which I consider essentual is tetanus which I didn't see on your list.
  • Tetanus, Tetanus, TETANUS!!!
  • it really depends on where you are and whats in your area.
  • Tetnus and West Nile
  • and Tetnus.
  • Rabies has zoonotic importance and is a fatal disease with no known treatment other than vaccination
  • Hey...where's tetnaus?? It's second to rabies.
  • both are located in my area
  • we live in mosquito infested south jersey
  • tetanus
  • You left out tetnus!
  • Where is tetnus? That absolutely needs to be #1.
  • rabies is clearly lethal, and transmittable to humans; flu is generally not lethal,
  • Rabies, for raccoons. We rarely ride around other horses, and I know no one in SW MO who has had WNV
  • Those are the basics..along with Tetanus I believe.
  • I would imagine that it depends on your area. In the dry SW rabies and WNV are what I fear most.
  • rabies is fatal and flu is everywhere
  • What about tetnus?????
  • CASES NEAR ME!!
  • You forgot Tetanus!
  • area specific
  • Lots of skeeters where I live.
  • EEE could be stopped if all horses were vacinated. Rabies kills.
  • because I am surrounded by swamps with birds and mosquitoes and my horses stay at home.
  • It depends on your Geographical location, Mine is Brome Qc. Canada. I chose rabies, and West Nile.
  • tetanus
  • rabies because it is passed from wildlife, which a horse has ample contact with
  • Poor prognosis
  • These two can be killers
  • Tetnus & Botulism
  • You forgot tetanus
  • The most serious to horses
  • The worrisome diseases in my area.
  • tetanus and rabies mostly, eee/wee/vee is 3rd.
  • I believe these two are the most prevalent in my area.
  • they can be the dealiest!
  • ALL sleeping sickness,tetanus,WNV,EVH, flu important. Survey limited,so picked 2 common locally
  • Most prevalent
  • That would be what is most prevalent in my area, but hard to pick just 2.
  • rabies is fatal - EEE/WEE/VEE most common in our area. Tetanus would have been my 1st choice.
  • they can die from it! (and so could you - rabies)
  • These diseases have high mortality rates.
  • My area doesn't have a high incendence of Rabies or PHF
  • I Feel that all of the above listed vaccinations are important
  • EEE/WEE/VEE & EHV - I'd add Flu to pick a third one. WNV and PHF are not prevalent in Oregon
  • Tetanus should be on this list, it is probably the most important of all!
  • Tetanus
  • one is very contagious and the other is unrecoverable from
  • More danger of exposure/no cure for rabies.
  • I believe that rabies is the most important because without it, rabies is catastrophic.
  • rabies is prevalent in wild animals where I live and west nile is a farirly new disease
  • Most debilitating, vector more common
  • Have lots of wildlife in our area that carry rabies.
  • For one horse, that is all I can do now since she becomes dangerously ill after Spring shots
  • I need more votes! but these are active in our area
  • most likely where I live
  • You need to add Tetanus to the list.
  • Tetenus vaccine required

About the Author

Megan Arszman

Megan Arszman received a Bachelor of Science In print journalism and equine science from Murray State University in Murray, Ky., and loves combining her love of horses, photography, and writing. In her “free time,” when she’s not busy working as a horse show secretary or riding her American Quarter Horses on her parents’ Indiana farm, she’s training and competing her Pembroke Welsh Corgi and Swedish Vallhund in dog agility and running.

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