Readers Give their Reasons for Skipping Rabies Vaccination

More than 280 readers of responded to a poll asking, "If you do not vaccinate your horse for rabies, why do you choose not to?"


results of poll on rabies vaccination

Results were as follows: 

  • My veterinarian says vaccinating for rabies is unnecessary 32.87% (94)
  • Other (please explain below) 27.62% (79)
  • Rabies is not a threat to my horse 18.53% (53)
  • Cost of vaccine 15.73% (45)
  • My horse is stalled and not exposed to wildlife 5.24% (15)

Readers shared their reasons in the comments below.

Poll sponsored by Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health.

Results of weekly polls from are published in The Horse Health E-Newsletter. Published every week, this e-newsletter 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 using the form above or on our e-newsletter page.  

Look for a new poll on every week!


  • I just dont feel that it is as "needed" as other vaccines. 39 years of horses, not one rabies case!
  • Worry about vaccinosis & health/temperament changes than can occur
  • I have know several horses that had severe allergic reactions to Rabies vaccine.
  • severe allergic reaction
  • Never was advised by vet until now. In Nor CA the need was low, but vet says now we should.
  • I use homeopathic nosodes instead of injected vaccines
  • Every year vaccination is most likely overkill but studies have not been done past 1 year
  • There is little wild life where my horse is kept and so I don't see the need for it.
  • can't order vaccine into my state(Georgia)
  • Have 12 horses
  • my horse is too precious to NOT vaccinate him for Rabies
  • Horse coliced two years in a row after vaccine
  • incidencein our area is low, do not want to overload horse with too many vaccines
  • It is not prudent to NOT vacinate your horse for rabies!
  • The last verified rabies case in my large county was a dog in 1947.
  • I live in Hawaii. We do not have rabies.
  • don't vaccinate annually; my horse has sufficient antibodies to vaccinate every 2 yrs + bad reaction
  • My vet has never recommended it.
  • Free money for the vet & pharmaceutical industry
  • Not needed in our area so why give it. Horses already get so many vaccines why give another
  • I live in a country(Ireland) where there has never been a reported case of rabies
  • My horses have all had anaphylactic reactions to the vaccine
  • i couldn't imagine not using a proven vaccine against such a devastating disease
  • I also refuse because in Kansas a vet has to administer shot. I used to always vaccinate my dogs OK
  • my horse colicked badly with the last rabies vaccination so it is not worth the risk
  • I do vaccinate for Rabies
  • No rabies in my state
  • horse had a reaction to the vaccine
  • Rabies is not to common in the west, last case of rabies was 60 yrs ago in domestic animals.
  • I always vaccinate for rabies
  • I vaccinate when vet recommends it. or rabies case has been found within the area
  • I vaccinate every few years for rabies
  • Threat is possible but minimal
  • custom bit and bridle
  • Because it is VERY expensive thru the vet. So I only do the vaccines I can do myself.
  • allergic reaction to vaccine
  • Only vets can purchase rabies vaccine in Arkansas & I don't have access to a vet
  • Rabies is not prevelant in this area
  • Thankfully, rabies is not a problem in Australia.
  • Vaccines are not harmless. You must always consider the risk in any vaccine program.
  • NOt a threat in my area and I also don't belive in vaccines.
  • I would by it at the farm store and give it myself if it was available
  • If titers are still high I do not revaccinate.
  • My vet says we only have rabies in bats here is Idaho so horses aren't exposed.
  • I definitely vaccinate for rabies
  • I don't feel it's necessary to revaccinate every year - I do every three years.
  • Every 3 years. Cancer linked to vaccine in dogs. Mine included.
  • Rabies hasn't been a threat in my immediate area; my vet HAS encouraged vaccination anyway
  • My horses don't travel out of the area, and rabies is uncommon here.
  • I would but, the cost of the vet coming all the way to my house to give me an overpriced shot.
  • founders when vaccinated
  • life threatening allergic reaction to vaccine
  • I like to do my own vaccines. In order to vaccinate for rabies, I have to take him to the Vet.
  • my horse colicked after receiving the vx.broke out in softball size hives and colicked. not good!
  • Rabies is not yet endemic in the UK - the vaccine is not part of the normal programme
  • Usually vaccinate with 3 diffferent vaccines at one time as it is and don't want to put yet another
  • my horses have all been vaccinated - not annually - fear of autoimmune disorder
  • I asked my Vet when he vaccinated my horses this year about the Rabies vaccination, this was his ans
  • there has been no rabies in this state for over 25 yrs
  • I live in the NW, where rabies is not endemic as it is in other parts of the US
  • Rabies is not a threat in Alberta
  • We don't have a rabies issue in our area
  • bad reactions
  • Being out of work I can not care for my horses the wat I want to.
  • Rabies is a very low threat in my area plus my horses are stalled.
  • adverse reactions in 2 of my 5 horses
  • no known cases here in west Australia so no need to vaccinate for rabies.
  • my current horse (and others I have owned) have had allergic reactions to the vaccine
  • my vet says rabies shots cause more trouble than not
  • cannot purchase vaccine anymore
  • Was surprised how many don't vaccinate for rabies! Humans can get it too so take care of your horse!
  • This is the only vaccine I've seen multiple different side reactions to.
  • Vaccine reactions - in my experience the vaccine is more dangerous than the risk of the disease.
  • There is no excuse not to vaccinate!!!
  • Extremely low incidence of rabies in horses in my state (Illinois)
  • rabies not endemic in my area
  • This sounds like some vaccine manufacturer looking to expand business.
  • Low risk in my area, fear of reaction, cost since I would have a vet do this one.
  • All get the rabies vaccine except the 3 IR ponies who receive titers each year, then booster/needed
  • I'm vaccinating every 2-3 years because my horses have a severe reaction to annual Rabies vaccinatio
  • First antirabies vaccination caused severe reaction in my horse--will never do it again!
  • We don't have a rabies threat where we are. If we did, I would vaccinate.
  • Vet says not really an issue where we live, he doesn't even give it to his horses.
  • Not a common disease for California Equines
  • It is rare in our area and my veterinarian does not actively promote it.
  • don't believe vaccines to be effective
  • the rabies vaccine in equines, like in other species, is good for more than one year - i use titers
  • Rabies in horses is very uncommon. I keep track of rabies cases near my home
  • I have 4 appys that have eye issues and any vaccine seems to exerbate the problem of blindness.
  • I do titers for rabies and my horses were extremely high.
  • for 1 of our horses, we skip every other year because the horse has an adverse reaction
  • 0 rabies cases in the past 25 years in my area. If I start to travel, I will vaccinate at that time.
  • Never before heard of vaccinating horses for rabies
  • My vet told me that it is necessary every other year
  • I would if I could administer myself as I do with all other vaccinations.
  • We do every other year just because. Vet will take our money but no one around here is hip on it.
  • not a big area for Rabies here
  • I give my own vaccines and it's against the law to get rabies here in wa
  • I try to vaccinate as little as possible, and the occurrence of rabies in my area is less than 1%.
  • No none cases in my part of Dallas County, AL
  • The vet recommends against it in my area, not in general
  • horse has adverse reaction to vaccine
  • Titers taken and vacinate only if low

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.

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with FREE weekly newsletters from Learn More

Free Newsletters

Sign up for the latest in:

From our partners