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roro 05-29-2010 12:56 AM

Horse reacting to Flu Rhino vaccine-help!
I'm going to break this down into a schedule to make it easier to understand.

Normal day. Horse is moving normally, had a good ride, acting normally etc.

Horse gets usual chiro work, turned out and walked around beforehand to get him loose and supple for the work.

Horse gets Flu Rhino vaccine.

The vet advises us that they can sometimes react to the vaccine by being sore, so I opt to lunge.

Lunging, he is not moving like yesterday. He is more resistant to reaching down and seemed to struggle to hold a canter. However, he was still moving fairly forward.

Horse develops welt on his left rump where shot was received.


Horse has no shavings on him in the morning, meaning he did not lie down that night. He typically lies down every night.

Horse is not eating well, leaving half of his lunch over before finishing it and same with dinner. Also not drinking as much.

Horse seemed exhausted for no reason, very sullen.

Horse became grumpy when made to walk up a hill on the way back to the barn, which is unusual for him. Did not want to walk up it.

I opted for free lunging tonight, just at the walk since he seemed so sore. Extremely noticeable soreness at the walk, struggled to get any sort of forward walk without him looking uncomfortable.

Horse pawed like he wanted to roll, but did not roll. This happened at least 4 times.

I checked his digestive system via gut sounds and poop and everything seemed normal there, so I know it isn't a stomach related issue.

I gave him one gram of bute to help, seemed a bit brighter an hour later.

So, here are my questions:

What can I do to help him through this?
Is this some sort of mini-flu, or is it caused just by the soreness?
Should I call the vet and talk to her?
More importantly, is this vaccine worth the risk for him to get it again next year?
If he needed to get it next year, is there any way that I could reduce the damage?

Thank you for any advice.

cmvet 05-29-2010 02:04 AM

So just like with people, when we vaccinate, we are stimulating an immune response. Most commonly horses will run a fever, have some muscle soreness at the vaccination site. When horses run a fever, they are just like us, they become lethargic, don't want to move around, eat, drink, ect. This combined with any potential muscle soreness in the area can create for a not so happy horse. I would monitor your horses temp (norm = 98.0 - 100.8F) hand walk, and give bute at a dosage advised by your vet. Bute is a great anti-inflammatory and analgesic (like us taking a few Advil or Tylenol). I would also let them know about the reaction so they can note it in his chart. Most reaction occur 12-24 hours post vaccination. Should resolve within 48-72 hours with supportive care. If it doesn't, call your vet to discuss, they may have you treat differently.

The Flu/Rhino vaccine tend to be the one I see the most reactions with. These reactions can be expected, as would they be in a human when they get a vaccine. When my wife gets her tetanus vaccination she can hardly move her arm for a week, that's just how her immune system responds to it.

My Beau 05-29-2010 09:08 AM

Call the vet... phone advice is always free :)

Silvera 05-29-2010 11:32 AM

I agree you should call your vet. They want to know if things like this happen because if they happen to many horses then they discontinue that shot. We had a problem with one of the shots in my area, however they couldn't issolate which it was because everyone gets their shots all at once. I would suggest for next time getting some shots one week and getting the next batch in a week or two after the first set. This way you are reducing the amount of things the horse has to deal with at one time and it allows you to know for sure what is causing a reaction so the vet can know.

For the horse that reacted here we where told to keep him on bute for a few days and just wait it out. If it got worse we where to call the vet back. He did get better fairly quickly though.

Hope that helps and hope your guy gets better soon.

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