Rabies: Vaccination Habits Revealed by Readers

More than 1,400 readers of TheHorse.com responded to a poll asking, "Do you vaccinate your horse for rabies?"

 

results of poll on rabies vaccinations

Results were as follows: 

  • Yes, I vaccinate for rabies annually 79.58% (1,126)
  • No 14.20% (201)
  • Yes, but I don't vaccinate for rabies regularly 4.66% (66)
  • Other 0.92% (13)
  • I don't know 0.64% (9)

Readers shared why they do or why they do no vaccinate in the comments below.

Poll sponsored by Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health.

Results of weekly polls from TheHorse.com 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.  

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  • it is mandatory in the state of MASS
  • I would not skip the rabie shot-this is as important as any of the shots my horses receive.
  • no cases of rabies in our state in horses
  • The small price of a shot isworth it to me!
  • Very few rabies cases in our area (western Washington).
  • Titers will tell you if your horse has enuf antibodies to skip a yearly vaccine. Better to be safe.
  • No local cases in over 40 yrs. If an outbreak in the area or going to area where it's common, yes.
  • better to be safe than sorry
  • every other year
  • state regulation.
  • one of our local vets was bitten by a rabid horse this year.
  • My God! Why wouldn't you?!
  • I started vaccinating for rabies 3 or so years ago as per our vets suggestion. We live in N. Utah
  • horse had reaction within 15 minutes - colic symptoms and founder
  • I do resent the fact that a vet must adminster the shot in Indiana, and I cannot give the shot mysel
  • Alaska dont have alot of wild/domestic animals with rabies, I did when we lived in the lower 48
  • Absolutely. Period. Done. the End.
  • live in the c aribbean on an island where we do not have rabies
  • NYS requires a vet to give the shot, couldn't find a vet to come to my farm for 3 yrs!
  • A very necessary vaccination - the disease is deadly
  • my vet doesn't feel there is currently a need to vaccinate for rabies
  • This is THE ONE disease that can also kill humans
  • We all forget how often our hands are in their mouths.
  • To protect me as well as the horses
  • My farm is in a wooded area with lots of critters eg. skunks, foxes, etc
  • Equine rabies immunoglobulin G producer
  • I vaccinate for rabies depending on the percentage of local outbreaks
  • recently there was an outbreak of rabies in town in a cow and just out of town in two horses. South
  • No rabies cases here for 25 yrs.
  • Rabies in my area is extremely rare in horses so I choose not to vaccinate
  • Our Washington State vet doesn't recommend it at this time.
  • I have titers done
  • I figure that if your horse gets attacked by a rabbid dog he wont live to get rabies ='(
  • Absolutely! Any horse out on pasture anywhere can be in contact with a rabid coon or skunk.
  • every 3 years
  • the new rabies vaccine can be given every two years
  • no, didn't even know there was a horse vaccine
  • Had a horse have a very severe reaction and I've been scared to vacinate again
  • always.. Never know when wild animals come in contact with our horses
  • where we live RABIES is a problem.
  • And I wouldn't because?
  • better safe than sorry
  • My horses live outside 365 days a year. Not a risk I am willing to take.
  • cheap insurance!
  • I live in a area where it is wise to do so for my horses protection and my own.
  • I've thought about it, but vaccinated for rabies yet.
  • It is endemic in the skunks and bats in our area.
  • My vets won't - so I do. Lost a great horse to it in a place where they "didn't have rabies" :-(
  • it would be crazy not to.
  • have to with raccons and oppossims around
  • when my vet reccomends I vaccinate
  • cheap insurance against rabies
  • This was the first year it was recommended by my vet - especially in my area
  • all of our rescue horses receive rabies vaccination
  • it'sa good idea, but I can't justify the cost
  • can't get the vaccine anymore in NM and no vet in area
  • EVERY 2ND YEAR
  • required by law in my state
  • I didn't before bur rabid skunks have been found near my home in CO.After 40 years of no rabies.
  • My veterinarian recommended against it
  • Farm in a very rural location with a large wildlife population on the property.
  • i kinow an Appy that got bit by a rabid skunk annd died of clinical rabies. And the owner did not k
  • rabies has been a problem in TX for several years
  • Very important for horse and human safety!!!
  • We live where rabies is prevalent and our horses live outdoors 24/7.
  • Should be a state law as it is for dogs and cats. If you ever saw a horse with rabies you would be b
  • Very important vaccine! Not a good idea to skip this one.
  • i live in the forest, home of the rabid critters! Yes I vaccinate
  • Rabies is not endemic in our area
  • Absolutely YES. If contracted, rabies is 1oo per cent fatal. Why wouldn't you vaccinate?
  • Rabies is not common in the West - only when it's prevalent.
  • 5 out of 6 horses, one is reactive to the vaccine.
  • used to but vet does not think it is needed in my area
  • I wouldn't think of not having my horses vaccinated for rabies especially since they are living in a
  • Rabies is epidemic around here. I took the series in '76 because of a rabid horse bite.
  • For our horses it is a must have vaccination.
  • We live in a low incident area.
  • A must where I live!
  • Yes, but only vaccinate every 3 years as recommended by vet and manufacturer
  • Cheapest form of Life Insurance for them and us
  • I don't know why anybody wouldn't unless their horse is allergic
  • My vet has had horses experience severe reactions to the vaccine, so I haven't chosen to vaccinate.
  • I do titers on my horses and they were extremely high.
  • All 31 of them
  • I asked my vet if I needed to this year and we don't need to.
  • and I make sure I use the Intervet rabies vaccine whicih was made for horses specifically
  • Just started a few years ago
  • Lots of coons, foxes, coyotes in our area!
  • absolutely and it is a shot requirement for our barn.
  • Our barn is at the edge of a 5,000+ acre park with lots of potential exposure. Cheap insurance, IMO
  • living next to 1/2 million acres of national forest land - lots of chances for rabies exposure.
  • I have found Ft Dodge Rabies vaccine makes my horses colic - I would recommend another brand
  • Rabies is a FATAL disease for both horses and humans--who would NOT vaccinate?
  • It is easily preventable - but if not vaccinated 100% fatal
  • Why take a chance?
  • Never did until about 2 years ago.
  • I would if there were a reported case within 400 miles
  • ABSOLUTELY. If you can't afford regular shots, at least do tetanus and rabies!
  • It is inexpensive and too dangerous to risk
  • I have been bitten by a rabid dog in the past and don't want the injections again!!!!!!
  • Why wouldn't you?
  • i believe it should be legal for you to purchase and give it yourself.
  • We vaccinated for the first time this year. Many skunks around the barn.
  • I haven't given vaccines in 9 yrs No rabies in my area.
  • we live in the Ozarks next to public land.
  • Absolutely; it's foolish not to when it is epidemic in my area.
  • except one horse. Near death reaction to this vaccine.
  • Vet keeps telling me it is not necessary. I would like to though
  • I have been vaccinating my horses for 30 + yrs
  • annually. rabies very common in wildlife in our area.
  • I truly believe in vaccinating for rabies, regardless where you may live.
  • absolutely!!
  • We had a rabies scare recently - you never know if it could strike your barn - vaccinate!!
  • Anyone who does not, and has horses on pasture, is playing with fire!
  • I vaccinate and always have for past 35 years
  • If you vaccinate your dog, who stays in the house,why not your horse
  • every yr, along with EWT and WN.
  • There have been several rabies cases close to my farm so I got all my horses vaccinated.
  • OF COURSE!!!
  • cheap insurance against an incurable disease
  • I also talk other people into vaccinating against it
  • Absolutely - I don't want to take THAT chance if there is a way to avoid it!
  • I have been for years at the vets recommendation
  • Absolutely! It's a 100% fatak dusease and it's not uncommon around here in foxes, skunks, etc.
  • every three years
  • we are in Alberta and rabies is very rare, so no need to vaccinate
  • Since my horses are turned out 24/7 and we have foxes and bats, I consider it a precaution.
  • rabies is not common but there are a lot of bats, racoon, skunks, and coyotes in my area.
  • An inexpensive vaccine given at the time of yearly exams is a low price to pay for protection.
  • DUH!!!!
  • One shot, or death, you decide.
  • Rabies is mandatory in MA, as in some other states, as it should be.
  • Did it once, made my horses sick, other vet said not to bother
  • my vet is not recomending it at this time
  • just started to this year
  • rabies is the one vaccine I insist on for all horses coming to me for boarding
  • In north Texas rabies is a problem and it is easier to prevent than to watch a friend die.
  • Only when there are outbreaks in my area
  • first time this year
  • no rabies on this island of Newfoundland
  • Just to be safe
  • I probably should, but a vet has to do it, I needed by my self
  • No excuse not to!!!
  • I vaccinate all my animals for rabies.
  • Anyone who doesn't is taking a horrible chance!
  • I depend on my vet for guidance---some years the wildlife is more dangerous than others.
  • since we have had horses in SE Michigan with rabies we vaccincate every year.
  • The need in my area is very low.
  • I always vaccinate annually for rabies! It is a must
  • My horses move from NC to FL yearly and have been routinly vaccinated for about 5 years now for rabies
  • I live in Hawaii no Rabies
  • Have given it annually since 1996 but current vet doesn't recommend it in KY.
  • I have had to educate my veterinarians about Equine Rabies since I live with varmits surrounding us.
  • Very low incidence of rabies in Idaho.
  • rabies is so preventable with just one vaccination a year it's a "no brainer"
  • Why risk it? Raccoons-Bats-Opossums...ohio
  • Rabid wild animals are EVERYWHERE - Toen AND Country. Better safe than sorry!
  • This is the first year that I have vaccinated for rabies. It was at the suggestion of my vet
  • Because our pasture has woods, we vaccinate every three yrs. for rabies.
  • I know it's rare, but rabies kills humans - I don't take chances with my life. It's only $25 a year
  • my horses are exposed to the same things as my dogs and I have small grandchildren soo. i vaccinate!
  • i have heard that new reports say it is only necessary every 3 years where applicable
  • absolutely - once you've seen the results of NOT vaccinating there is no option.
  • I can't get the vaccine to do myself and vet wants $20 PLUS a $70 farm call, so $90 for a shot?
  • Every fall with intranasal Flu
  • Would bi-annually be enough?
  • Of course
  • I test titers and vaccinate when needed - far less often than recommended.
  • My horses get their rabies vac when they get their other shots in the spring
  • Why wouldn't you!?? We have a high incidence of rabies in skunks and coyotes in AZ. We have too many skunks and other carriers in Oklahoma!
  • We went for many years without vaccinating but then we started having rabies cases in our area.
  • all 3 horses get the rabies vacn. yearly
  • Our local shows require it
  • This is the first year I ahve vaccinated for rabies
  • pastured horses can come in contact with wild animals, is necessary
  • This is a must where I live.
  • Absolutely!
  • every three years, yes
  • It is like playing Russian Roulette not to vaccinate NO KNOW CASES IN MY AREA
  • With all the money I dump into my horses, if a $10 shot could save their life - Why not?
  • I live in a rural area, very necessary for my horses.
  • every 3 years after initial series
  • Considering checking blood titers for all suggested vaccines next season; are we over-vaccinating?
  • This is a no-brainer. Why take the chance?

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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