Majority of Readers Vaccinate Against Rabies

More than 840 readers of TheHorse.com responded to a poll asking, "Is your horse vaccinated against rabies?"

results of poll on rabies vaccination

Results were as follows: 

  • Yes: 83.10% (703)
  • No: 16.90% (143)

Readers shared why they do or do not vaccinate their horses for rabies in the comments below.

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Poll sponsored by Intervet Schering-Plough Animal Health


  • Vet doesn't recommend in this area.
  • its important to there health
  • we live in the northwoods, with lots of critters-this vacc is critical
  • no rabies in our area
  • duh, horse can die without it and could infect the person
  • Because it's such an easy disease to prevent this way.
  • My mares are turned out 24-7 and we're in an area with an abundance of wildlife.
  • dont take chances
  • Rabies is pretty rare in Oregon, getting bit by a rabid animal is not very likely.
  • can't afford it
  • there are sometimes rabid foxes, racoons etc in our area. why take a chance? a mouse can be rabid
  • New Zealand is a rabies free country
  • We have a lot of Brown Bat variant Rabies in Northern AZ in the wildlife population.
  • Yes, every year, all horses currently ages 4 to 32 years.
  • Vet recommended for our area
  • Rabies is very rare in my area; would vaccinate if suggested by vet.
  • We have racoons,skunk and bats in out area
  • recommended by vet because we have had incidence of rabies in horses in our state
  • reccomended by vet, may be required by state of New Jersey, but I'm not sure.
  • loose dogs
  • Not concerned about rabies and concerned about negative response to shot.
  • Never know what infected critter might wander or fly (bats) into the pasture and bit my horses
  • Because vet recommends it.
  • we don't have rabies here in Australia
  • ALWAYS! Every year!
  • many rabid raccoons in the area
  • Of course. Rabies is deadly and a vaccine protects horse and owner. Required to show in NH
  • Would if outbreak in area.Vets & county animal services say no domesticated animal cases in 40+ yrs
  • It is required in NY state but I would do it anyway
  • rabies vaccine reactivity - had a bad colic episode after last rabies vacc.
  • yes, rabies is rare but always fatal
  • bats in barn worry me.
  • On pasture with much wildlife around so I feel it is required.
  • To protect everyone
  • We have a lot of wildlife around the barn including foxes, raccoons, skunks, etc.
  • it is endemic in our area
  • Rabies is fatal and can be transmitted to humans & other animals
  • rabies is in our area and wildlife visit the pasture regularly
  • to protect us both from rabies
  • negligent, very little rabies if any here, didn't know it was available until recently
  • my horse was given not only the required vaccines to board, but recommended ones as well
  • live in an area populated by skunks
  • because I don't want to pay a vet to do something I could easily do if allowed!
  • It should be required as should all recommended vaccines in order to get a yearly health certificate
  • There are less than 40 cases of rabies in a population of over 2 million horses.
  • our horse is around a marsh area with them. tests show in area. boarding facility demands
  • We don't have a problem with skunks here in central OR. We did in southern NM and we did vaccinate.
  • if it comes in to this area, I will do it
  • Because rabies is always fatal!
  • we don't have any wabbitts here
  • adverse reactions in 2 of my 5 horses
  • it's always fatal! A simple, cheap preventive measure.
  • live in a rabies prevelant area
  • It's 100% fatal...why take a chance?
  • My horses are turned out 24/7 with access to their stalls. There is much wildlife thru our pasture.
  • cannot afford not to
  • we dont have any problems in our area
  • currently financially unable
  • Rabies not a problem in NV & vaccines that I do give toxic enough!
  • I never considered it a priority in this area.
  • no reason
  • irresponsible not to vaccinate
  • live in a rural area, skunks abound
  • it's endemic in NC
  • An oz of prevention is worth a lb of cure. Live in an area where there is much wildlife
  • West coast cases for the first time in years.
  • We have never had a case of rabies in my area. I would, if necessary.
  • Raccoons, possums, coyotes.
  • we live and ride near the Gothe forest
  • I work at a lab - on the same floor as rabies lab- Have seen horse heads come through and think I wo
  • Part of herd health yearly
  • rabies have been noted in wildlife around the area in the past few years.
  • There are rabid fox in Western PA and it would be foolish to not vaccinate when there is a chance.
  • My horse has developed an increasingly severe reaction to the vaccine.
  • vet recommended
  • Because rabies is not treatable but easily prevented.
  • Always! Skunks and Racoons are frequent visitors around the farm.
  • Has to be done, non-negotiable
  • small cost compared to the consequences
  • Live in the center of town & have horses on large dry paddocks
  • We are in a rural area and subject to various wildlife
  • i don't know why
  • why take the chance, even if one in a million, that a rabid animal could bite my horse
  • can't imagine NOT vaccinating!
  • required for shows in my area
  • it is nys law
  • I have a small fenced area with little exposure to wildlife so I don't vaccinate for rabies
  • it's fatal all our racehorses at Laurelracetrack are vaccinated
  • I live on an island (Newfoundland) and we don't have rabies here. Did vaccinate while in Ontario.
  • Rabies are prevalent in my area of the country.
  • To protect the horse and all the come into contact with them
  • I do not feel it is necessary.
  • It's endemic in my area.
  • I wouldn't put my horses at risk by not vaccinating against rabies
  • every spring
  • It was included in my Potomac Fever vaccine
  • ALWAYS for all of my animals as we have rabies in VT.
  • Rabies vaccination was recommended by my vet
  • We vaccinate when the vet recommends it; he waits for reported cases in the area.
  • the alternative even if chances are low is scary
  • Lucky enough not to have it in New Zealand.
  • standard procedure / protocol
  • lots of wildlife in this area
  • YES WHY TAKE THE CHANCE OF NOT DOING IT
  • I have skunks etc in my area & I live next to a wildlife area.
  • Vet did not recommend
  • every spring to protect me and my horse!!!!Absolutely!!
  • I live in California
  • Yes, just like my indoor cats who have access to a deck - bats!
  • We have rabid skunks.every year
  • Very important to protect your horse from Rabies
  • Absolutely! Why? Raccoons-Possums-Bats and positive rabies in my county...Ohio
  • Plenty of cases here in PA
  • PA has lots of rabies. 4th/50 states. 4 rabid horses so far in 2010
  • It's 100% deadly and 100% preventable! Why wouldn't you especially when it's transmitable to humans!
  • We're not in an area where rabies is an issue
  • It's not a problem where I live
  • lots of wildlife in our area; can never be too cautious
  • rabies in incurable
  • I beleive it is too risky not to, we vaccinate our dog so why not the horses.
  • Bad reactions to all vaccines!
  • You just need a rabid rat to run through the stables then disaster!!
  • Veterinarian recommended
  • do not feel it is necessary in my area
  • Rabid skunks in area
  • So little cost to prevent such a huge potential tragedy!
  • Why take a chance?
  • I don't wish to die of rabies due to unvaccinated horses, goats or pets
  • Not recommended by vets in our area
  • The cost of the vaccine is minimal compared to losing your beloved horse.
  • Rabies is endemic in the Southeast
  • cheap protection, makes sense
  • Have not owned either horse very long
  • because rabies is preventable
  • We have coons, possums & skunks. I shoot them, but more keep coming.
  • Live rurally, lots of skunks with rabies
  • I wouldn't never let me horses go without their yearly rabies shots. It's asking for trouble...
  • My vet said its not necessary
  • There's no cure for rabies! Protect you and your vet.
  • Foolish not to
  • Of course!
  • too expensive
  • For such a reasonable price why wouldn't every give rabies shot- unlike other diseases rabies is fat
  • we have wild animals in our area coyote ,fox,javalina,rabbits etc
  • I have vaccinated my horses since late 70s due to an outbreak in our area
  • I have 3 horses and live in an area surrounded by woods (chance of rabid raccoons, foxes, etc.)
  • never have and never will
  • I choose tovaccinate all my animals, and it's law in my state for showing, etc.
  • If the animal lives outside which mine does 98% of the time
  • protection from rabid skunks, raccoons or coyotes.
  • because it is a fatal disease.
  • why no, is your horses health not worth it?
  • Once you get rabies, there is no cure
  • yes, but both had adverse reactions to the vaccines
  • We live where there are critters.
  • My vet said, because of my horses' environment, he feels it's not necessary.
  • Several rabies cases in AZ. Recommended by vet.
  • BECAUSE RABIES IS ALWAYS FATAL. PERIOD.
  • I choose to not take the risk, there are many animals in our area that could carry rabies
  • My two horses, two donkeys and small pets are all vaccinated against rabies. We live in the country.
  • Rabies amongst all species was once epidemic in TX, it is recommended by local vets
  • Of course! Easy, efficacious, and not going to risk when it's always fatal
  • When it comes to rabies, you just don't take chances. Too many wild animals have it & can pass it on
  • Endemic in my area- and 100% fatal if not vaccinated!
  • Yes, every spring along with vet visit and other shots
  • Rabies is one of the most scary and dangerous diseases
  • Because my horse are turned out there for exposed to bats, skunks ect
  • Because it is in the wildlife population, is 100% fatal to horses, & the vaccine safe & effective.
  • simple vaccine, rabies endemic in area
  • No cure if they get it- very preventable.
  • recommended by my vetrinarian
  • veterinarian recommendation and boarding rules
  • None in the area
  • Lots of wildlife here.
  • My veterinarian said only bats carry rabies here in Idaho, so it's unneccesary.
  • I wouldn't subject my horse to a life threating disease which can be prevented
  • Large skunk population
  • Horses are grazers & this is where rabid animals can make contact.
  • Vet recommendation
  • It's part of the vaccines given for PREVENTION!
  • I don't vaccinate
  • Duh, "rabies is always fatal"
  • All are in pasture; in county were rabies has been reported.
  • Our area is not a high risk area.
  • I have 26 minis and all are UTD on rabies.. high wild rabies in our area.
  • Rabies is incurable, transmissable to humans, and is common among many wild & feral mammals.,
  • 3 rabid skunks in the pasture in the last 5 years! Reason enough!
  • Many coyotes and other rabies carrying animals in our area. I want my horses to be protected.
  • I live in NC and rabies is quite common
  • Pandemic in mid-Atlantic region
  • In the US, it's foolish not to
  • Can't afford it.
  • There is not the option to do this in the UK.
  • rabies exists in an area that is close.
  • Because I work in animal control
  • pasture kept, cheap precaution
  • We are surrounded by woods, many wild animals, bear, coyote, moose, deer, etc. Don't take chances.
  • I only vaacinate for the "killer diseases": tetanus, WNV, EWV-EEE.
  • Rabies is pretty active here in Michigan. Better safe than sorry.
  • My horse is pasture boarded and e have a variety of wildlife (foxes, raccoons, opossums, etc) on t
  • absolutely, every year without fail.
  • Not needed this year in my area area --other years, yes.
  • it is fatal and there are rabid animals in the area.
  • It is not worth the risk on having my horse infect me.
  • Our horses are exposed coyotes, racoons and skunks all have the potential for transmitting rabies.
  • to be on the safe side
  • Because rabies is fatal and can be transmitted by other mammals in our area (bats, raccoons, opossum
  • It used to be when we lived where rabies was a threat, live in AK now.
  • She is in a box stall
  • Absolutely! We also give yearlt Rabies shots to all Barn Cats - we lost a horse locally to rabies.
  • If they even find one in your pasture, your horse is quarantined for 2 months!
  • Why take a chance, the vaccine is cheap compared to a dead horse.
  • Vaccines destroy the immune system.
  • Rabies is in the wildlife population in the area
  • I don't think they need it where I'm at.
  • Vet
  • We have had many cases here in Michigan. This spring we lost our 4 cats to rabies! WE VACCINATE
  • Rabies in our area is very rare
  • We have had documented cases of equine rabies in my area so prevention is key.
  • We have 15 horses and get them all vaccinated against rabies. Not worth the risk not to.
  • Going without could be catastrophic. We have wildlife in our area that could expose our horses.
  • Lawrence, KS
  • I live in a rural area where any kind of rabid critters can be.
  • For $12/horse - not worth taking the risk, Vaccinate
  • not willing to take a chance..live in a rural wooded area where wild life is active
  • Absolutely...why would anyone not??
  • Makes sense to protect your horse!
  • We trail live and ride where there is a large # of rabed sm. animals.
  • I have 10 horses and everyone is vaccinated with everthing recommended by my vet.
  • My vet recommended against it.
  • Would never take a chance by not vaccinating!
  • high rabies count in my county
  • it's mandatory in our province
  • Our area is inundated w/skunks lately
  • we have many animals in our area that have been reported with rabies, its a big precaution
  • Vet reccomends it!
  • cost of the vet visit.
  • Vet said not necessary where we live.
  • Recomendation of vets in Oregon all horses going to California need Rabies & Start here in 1 or 2 yr
  • My vet says it is not needed in our area.
  • absolutely!
  • Live in a rural area strongly recommended by vet
  • Rabies cases in the Denver area
  • Rabies found in a foal here in our town.
  • Concerned about skunks, racoons & other rabiles carriers-my horse goes after small animals!
  • yes, since 1984,my vet diagnosed donkey with rabies, Florida
  • vet recommends for our area of Texas
  • can only be administered by a vet
  • Because the horse can contract it and spread it to humans.
  • Rabies does not occur in Australia so it is not necessary for us.
  • Didn't we already do this question?
  • Vet doesn't recommend it
  • Very important
  • It's a MUST around here (NW North Carolina)
  • rabies is in my area.vets reluctant to treat neurological disorders w/o proof of vaccination.
  • The Area Vet say we are safe at this time
  • don't consider it much of a danger around here.
  • RABID RACOON WAS FOUND 2 MILES AWAY
  • They are outside 24/7 and I know that you can't always stop the bite, you can stop the rabies.
  • All kinds of critters come up from the woods to the barn area.
  • It would be foolhardy in my part of CA not to vaccinate!
  • One of the least reactive vx and rabies would not only kill your horse but you as well
  • Why risk it?!?!
  • We have many skunks, bats and other critters that can carry rabies in the area
  • There are always rabies carrying animals around pastures & barns. Have always gotten since 1980's.
  • good security measure
  • state requirement for racing
  • It's a fatal disease. There is no cure. Not going to risk it!

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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