Side Effects of Vaccines - Normal? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 05-24-2008, 08:06 PM Thread Starter
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Side Effects of Vaccines - Normal?

So, my horse was vaccinated (booster) on Thursday 5/23. It included Flu, Rhino, E & W, Tetanus, and West Nile. (He also had his teeth floated.)

Friday he was fine.

Saturday...he ate his grain, but absolutely no hay (he normally eats it ALL). He was very lethargic and barely picking up his feet to walk. He didn't even graze on grass in pasture (which is his favorite thing to do). Nor did he roll (his 2nd favorite thing to do).

By around 1PM Saturday, I got out to see him and groomed him in his favorite grazing spot. He then did graze on grass & clover. Still very lethargic. I stayed with him for 3 hours. He grazed on grass, pooped (normal), drank water, but was still very lethargic and would not eat hay in his stall. I eventually got him to eat hay out in his pasture...but he only took a bite after his pasture-mate started eating it.

Does this sound like a normal reaction to his vaccines?
Or could it be a tooth issue?

Last year, he did not act this way after being vaccinated...but last year he didn't have West Nile.
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post #2 of 11 Old 05-24-2008, 09:45 PM
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Reading this and knowing that vaccine reactions are not so common, I automatically think that something went wrong during floating that is causing him too much pain to mess with the hay. Did they rasp his teeth or did you have an equine dentist? They use power tools & usually cause less damage and discomfort.

Texas Justice - A Connecticut Tennessee Walker!
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post #3 of 11 Old 05-24-2008, 10:02 PM Thread Starter
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It was my vet who did his teeth. She used an electric grinder thing. She said his teeth weren't that bad, so she didn't have to do much.

What type of problems could result from teeth floating? Like an infection or a problem with grinding down the teeth too much?
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post #4 of 11 Old 05-24-2008, 10:23 PM
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Generally it is horses that have had extensive floating. However, some horses have discomfort when the jaw returns to the natural position after being corrected and this in turn leads to a temporary difficulty in grinding food (ex:hay) it shouldn't be more than a 2-3 days.

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post #5 of 11 Old 05-25-2008, 10:20 AM
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If the vaccinations were given in the neck, it's possible that your horse is experiencing soreness there that is limiting him from putting his head down to graze and also making him not want to move--every step causes movement in the neck. Any break in the skin causes an inflammatory reaction. I would expect this to be the case moreso than anything from the floating.

If there is pronounced swelling in the neck, your horse is running a fever of 102+ or is getting worse rather than better you need to have your vet out. ANY injection (or break in the skin) carries the risk of infection. Bute or Banamine can be given to help with the inflammation and the area can be hotpacked for 10-20 minutes twice a day. Check with your vet about dosing Bute or Banamine for your horse.

Cindy D.
Licensed Veterinary Technician
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post #6 of 11 Old 05-25-2008, 10:25 AM
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Great information. Thanks Ryle

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post #7 of 11 Old 05-25-2008, 10:38 AM
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Every time we get the horses vaccinated at least one of them goes through this. Its the swelling in the neck as Ryle stated. It makes it difficult to lower the head to eat. I usually give them a hay bag high enough they dont have to lower their head to eat. I put DMSO around the injection site and give them some Aniprin. It wears off in a day or so. I put an ice pack on Vida last time, should it have been a hot pack? She acted like the ice pack felt really good.
We tried splitting the shots up by 2 weeks but that didn't do any good either. Still had one with a sore neck.


"Until one has loved an animal, part of one's soul remains unawakened..."
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post #8 of 11 Old 05-25-2008, 01:05 PM Thread Starter
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Ohh thank you Ryle for your expertise! And thanks Vida for the tip on the high-hung hay bag!

I'm sure this is the case. One of his injection sites had a small bit of inflammation (about the size of two thumb prints). This same inflammation happened last year, but he still ate his food last year. Although, he was in really tall grass (up to my waist), so maybe it was high enough for him to eat comfortably.

I'm going to see him again this afternoon. Fingers crossed that he's feeling better!!
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post #9 of 11 Old 05-27-2008, 06:16 AM
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How is he doing now? Hope he's doing much better.

Cocoa has to get bute a few days before and a few days after her shots or she gets sick from them.


Cocoa - 32 yr old QH, Cherokee - 8 yr old TWH & Toby - 16 yr old QH
R.I.P. Cocoa 4/13/78 - 2/9/11
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post #10 of 11 Old 05-27-2008, 06:48 AM
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Equina, after my qh was giving shots she was fine next day. Day after she barely could move and I ended up holding the water bucket for her to drink. She was just quietly standing in field for most of the time very stiff (although she ate the grain :) ). It was for about 2-3 days then she got better. Almost the same happened when she was given 2nd set of shots month later (although it was little better that time, because the vet gave her something to easy the reaction).
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