Poll Recap: Rabies Vaccination

Poll Recap: Rabies Vaccination

The vaccine has been proven to help reduce horses' risk for contracting rabies.

Photo: Erica Larson, News Editor

If you knew there was a way to protect your horse from a fatal disease, would you take the necessary precautions? Rabies is fatal to all mammals, and while it isn’t a risk everywhere, it is prevalent in the United States. Fortunately, there's a vaccine that's been proven to help reduce horses' risk for contracting rabies. 

In last week’s online poll, we asked our readers if their horses are vaccinated against rabies. More than 850 people responded, and we’ve tallied the results!

Of the 854 respondents, 681 (80%) said their horses are vaccinated against rabies, while the remaining respondents (20%) indicated their horses are not currently vaccinated.

Additionally, more than 65 people commented about their decision to vaccinate (or not) horse against rabies: 

Many respondents shared why their horses' rabies vaccines are up-to-date:

  • “The vet included it with the other annual vaccines given.”
  • “Always, we have stray cats, skunks, and groundhogs in the pasture. Vaccinate every year.”
  • “I will never skip this vaccination. Rabies is endemic to North America. No horse here is ‘safe.’ ”
  • “In Montana we have lots of little critters that could carry rabies. Vaccination necessary.”
  • “Yes. Their health is important to me.”
  • “It's an inexpensive vaccine and my horses live in a rural part of the south. Better safe than sorry!”
  • “Absolutely; rabies is epidemic in my area.”
  • “Absolutely! Especially living out in the country with lots of wildlife.”
  • “Confirmed reports of a rabid bat in the area made vaccination necessary.”
  • “We live rurally with wild animals which carry rabies. It is necessary.”
  • “I vaccinate my horse for almost everything under the sun because I do not want to take risks.”
  • “Always. It's not worth it not to vaccinate for an untreatable disease.”
  • “Yes, though we don't get rabies very often here.”
  • “Even the retirees who never leave the farm are given rabies and tetanus shots.”
  • “Yes, because there have been cases of rabies in other animals and horses in North Carolina.”
  • “All horses on the property are kept strictly up to date on all vaccinations, including rabies.”

Others said their horses are not vaccinated for rabies:

  • “Before I moved to southwest Wisconsin I did, but out current vet says its not needed.”
  • “I plan on vaccinating next vet visit.”
  • “I have vaccinated for rabies in the past but not this year. My horses stock up from the rabies vaccine.”
  • “Our vet doesn’t feel it is needed.”
  • “The sickness that my animals have incurred due to this vaccine is not worth the risk anymore.”

A few people said rabies isn’t prevalent in their area:

  • “The British Isles are free of rabies.”
  • “I live in Sweden, no rabies here.”
  • “We live in an area where there has been no rabies in over 50 years.”
  • “We live in Australia and rabies is not here ... yet.”
  • “I live in a rabies-free country.”

And others left general comments:

  • “The vaccine is effective in protecting against an invariably fatal disease ... why not vaccinate?”
  • “Why would anyone skip vaccinating against this? Not something you can fix with supportive care.”
  • “One horse was diagnosed with rabies up here in Minnesota. Cheapest insurance you can get for your horse!”
  • “It’s a cheap prevention to a 100% fatal disease, and protects other humans and animals.”
  • “Every year in the fall is what my vet recommends.”
  • “Protects not only the horse but also the humans that interact with it.”
  • “I'll be asking my vet about having my horse vaccinated for rabies!”
  • “Active skunk season is November through March, so they are vaccinated every fall.”

You can find additional information on rabies in horses, watch a video to learn about clinical signs and prevention methods of rabies, what to do if your horse is bitten by an unknown animal, equine vaccination Q&A, and more at TheHorse.com! 

This week, we want to know: what is your biggest concern for your older horse? Vote now and tell us about it at TheHorse.com/polls

The results of our weekly polls are published in The Horse Health E-Newsletter, which offers news on diseases, veterinary research, health events, and in-depth articles on common equine health conditions and what you can do to recognize, avoid, or treat them. Sign up for our e-newsletters on our homepage and look for a new poll on TheHorse.com.

About the Author

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer, is a lifelong horse owner who competes with her Appaloosas in Western performance events. She is a University of Kentucky graduate and holds a bachelor’s degree in Community Communications and Leadership Development, and master's degree in Career, Technical, and Leadership Education. She currently lives on a small farm in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.

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