BLACKJACK LAND & CATTLE COMPANY: VACCINE REACTION IN HORSES

Monday, April 21, 2008

VACCINE REACTION IN HORSES

Man the last couple of days have been crazy around here! The worst part is my mare "Angel" is very sick. Let me start at the beginning - Last Tuesday I took them in to the vet for there annual shots and Coggins. Wednesday morning I went out to feed and my mare was the last one to the barn. Not normal at all! Then I notice as she is getting closer she appears to be very stiff. Not normal either! Well I was getting ready to tie her up and noticed her face is swollen and started checking her over. And her left side of her neck is swollen big time! As I am trying to remain calm I continue checking her over-vitals, gut sounds, the whole nine yards! Of course the vet is not in, since it is 6 am! So I go back inside and get Savannah ready for school and drop her off. Then I call the vet and he said bring her in. Not a problem, I was going to bring her in! So I go hook up and walk her very slowly to the trailer, normally she loads not a problem. I had to coax her in. So we get there and he says yep she is having a severe vaccine reaction. So he gives her Banamine and penicillin and off we go. I continue to medicate her for 3 more days with Banamine and Penicillin and hydro twice daily. The swelling is going down slowly. Well, this morning went out to feed and she is in the barn just standing there. When she tried to walk she was very stiff again in her front end! Then I start looking at her all over and her neck is swollen worse and has moved down her neck even more! Of course there is heat in it too. And she can not even turn her neck that way. And you can tell she just feels like crap! Of course this is at 5:30 this morning and the vet is not there! So what did I do? I had a good cry and screamed a few choice words (sorry I hate it when they are sick!) and then regained my composure! Called the vet after I dropped off Savannah at school and he said it sounded like she is trying to get a abscess there. So I went in and picked up a different antibiotic and started that and her on Bute. I have to take her in Wednesday morning for him to lance it and go from there. He didn't want to see her today, he wanted to get the antibiotics in her and manage her pain some. This afternoon she is not as stiff (which I am sure has something to do with the high dose of Bute I gave her!). So that is a relief to see a change for the better in her. He did tell me to elevate her food, water and hay. So she is being treated like a princess in a lot all to herself. He did say normally it takes 4-6 weeks for them to heal. So I am hoping and praying that after we see the vet that she will be on the road to recovery!! I will let you all know how it goes at the vet. I tried to take pictures of her neck and face, but the pictures did not turn out. We have never had anything like this happen before, have you had a horse with a vaccine reaction?

14 comments:

Min said...

I hope your horse starts feeling better. It's so hard when animals are sick! (sounds like you need your vet's home number!) Take care.

Nonna said...

Sorry to hear Angel has been so sick. I know that must have been scarey for you. I hope she is getting better each day. Keep us updated!

Mrs Mom said...

Sorry that Angel is so sick Kris. Sure hope she heals up soon for you and without further complications.

Maybe its just me paying more attention to things, but it seems like over the past 7-ish or so years, I have been hearing more and more about vaccine reactions in horses, ranging from mild stiffness in the neck, to low grade fever,laminic events, to instances like your mare.

I have gotten to the point of doing only one vaccine at a time, and if there is no conclusive proof that they NEED to have the vaccince, I won't do it. Seems to have helped some, by spacing things out and letting their systems regroup.

Good luck with her- please give her a big rub from us!! Keep us posted on how she does too please!! (Of COURSE you will!)

BarnGoddess said...

oh no! I hope Angel is MUCH better today!!!

I hate this, scary AND worriesome.

Yes, I have seen this happen before. It has happened twice to horses on a ranch I worked for in the early 90's and last year my best friend L's mare had the exact same thing as Angel. Jazz is fine now but she was pretty sick.

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

So sorry to hear Angel is under the weather.
Personally we haven't had any reactions to shots but we don't vaccinate anything any more because we have heard so many stories about reactions. The last time we vaccinated the whole herd was when West Nile took off. We vaccinated the first year but then started hearing the horror stories about bred mares aborting or having deformed colts and stopped. We had 2 mares bred that year. Both of them got close to their due dates, bags filled with milk and then they got stiff in the hind legs, started streaming milk and then there was nothing. No aborted colt, just nothing. The only thing we could figure out was the West Nile shot. The next year it happened again to one mare.
The vet said there was no way the West Nile vaccine could be responsible for the second year and suggested we vaccinate for Rhino. So that mare got her 5,7&9 month shot. She red bagged and the colt was dead. This year she got the pre-breed Rhino as well as the 5,7&9. We are praying.

I read a very interesting article about vaccinations a few years back and they did testing on the RH factors on vaccinated animals(horses,dogs&cats) and the RH factors were proved to be sufficiently high enough to protect the animal for 18 months after the original vaccination. They tested every month and did not see a significant drop until the 24th month. So essentially an animal is protected for 2 years after being vaccinated but people are vaccinating every 6 to 12 months.
I also found out that the rabies vaccine that is given to dogs and cats is good for 3 years. So why is it required every year to license your pet? Did you know that even if your dog is current on his vaccine that if he bites someone, Animal Control is still required to impound and observe them for 10 days?

Sorry-long comment-but it is unfortunate that there are getting to be more and more reactions and the vets cannot figure out why. They want to blame the vaccine companies but really I think it comes down to over-vaccinating.

Frazzled Farm Wife said...

Awww....poor Angel! It stinks to have sick animals.

Shirley said...

Hi Kris, just found your blog courtesy of MidWest Horse. I am sorry to hear about your mare. I agree with BE Cowgirl, that horses are overvaccinated. If one practices good management, most of tham aren't necessary. Drug companies are big business in the States and Canada and it is in their best interests to keep us buying their products, and not always in the best interests of the horse. Most horses respond well to natural medicines; I use herbs and essential oils on mine.

farmnwife said...

I hope things turn out okay.
farmnwife

Pony Girl said...

Hi Kris,
Thanks for visiting me over at Pony Girl! This is scary- I am glad your mare is on the mend, but wow, 4-6 weeks to recover? Unfortunately the vet could only give my horse one vaccine before he flipped out, so, he will be getting his others later this month. But from what I've read here, it sounds better that he's not getting them all at once anyway! I would just be sick if he had a reaction that caused a serious issue. Keep us posted!

Midlife Mom said...

We have shot day on Friday so I'm hoping we don't have any reactions. I've never heard of such a bad reaction, that is so awful Kris! I sure hope she's feeling better by now!!! What is a shovel race? Were you being pulled on that shovel??????? Good for Savannah!! She is such a cutie and to think she loped some! That looks like it must be such a fun event. I so wish we had stuff like that around here, I guess I say that a lot but I really do.

Linda said...

I agree with BE Cowgirls too. We had a horse swell up from giving the west nile vaccine and haven't done it since. All the best, she'll be fine.

Min said...

Interesting to read the rest of the comments about vaccinations. My husband and I were wondering why so many vaccinations...we vaccinated our ranch herd for west nile once, a few years ago. We don't coggins unless we're transporting across state lines. Just curious...our horses are healthy w/out any vaccinations.

Hope Angel is getting better.

Oldqueen44 said...

Wow... I never heard of horses having reactions like this. I don't think I will be staying up to date on them. Thanks to all those who made the long informative comments.

Anonymous said...

I've seen many vaccine reacttions over the past 30 years and have noticed that combined vaccines, especially those with flu and rhino, cause more abcessing than when given separately. I've also noticed that a specific manufacurer's products result in more abcesses than others. While your mare's reaction was extreme, it wasn't unusual. I have also found that the older the animal, the worse the reaction, both in dogs and horses. I stopped giving my 16 yo golden everything buy rabies for that reason.