Preventive medicine is a vital part of keeping a happy and healthy horse. There are a number of vaccinations out there for horses. Some are considered 'core' vaccinations; meaning that these diseases are endemic to a region, have potential public health significance, are highly virulent/highly infectious or pose a risk of severe, often fatal disease. Others are 'Risk based vaccinations', and are given depending on your horses risk of contracting these disease. This is best decided on consultation with our veterinarian. 



Tetanus is a severe, often fatal bacterial disease that can affect numerous species (humans are vaccinated against this too!). The bacteria (Clostridium tetani) live in the soil, and are most commonly transmitted via deep wounds. In horses this can include injuries or wounds, surgery (e.g. geldings) or dentals. Horse are the most susceptible species to tetanus therefore their risk of developing the disease if greatest. Once contracted it is often difficult to treat, and most horse will die once they begin to show symptoms. It is therefore essential that your horse is vaccinated against Tetnus, and that their vaccination status is kept up to date. 


If the mare has been vaccinated in the prepartum period;
1st dose: 4 — 6 months of age
2nd dose; 4 — 6 weeks after 1st dose
3rd dose; at 10 — 12 months of age

If the mare has not been vaccinated;
1st dose; at 1 — 4 months of age
2nd dose; 4 weeks after 1st dose
3rd dose; 4 weeks after 2nd dose


If never been vaccinated adults should be given 2 shots at one month interval.
Booster should be given every 5 years following:

  • a wound injury; 
  • undergoing surgery; or
  • a dental procedure.


Hendra virus is a deadly disease that has become endemic in Australia. It is transmitted by bats, via their urine, faeces or birthing fluids, to horses via contaminated food or water. The virus can then be transmitted from horses to humans, and has a 50% mortality rate in humans. It is a very acute disease that results in either or both of severe neurological, respiratory or even colic symptoms in horses, progresses rapidly, eventually resulting in death or termination of the affected animal.

While cases of the hendra virus infection in horses have only been recorded in Queensland and New South Wales, the virus has been discovered in bats in South Australia, so the risk of contracting the disease in the Limestone Coast/West Wimmera region is a real one.

Because of the severity of this disease and its zoonotic potential, it is highly recommended that all horses be immunised against it—vaccination is the only protection available for both your horse and yourself! 

Vaccination can start at 6 months of age—
Initial course; 2 shots 3 – 6 weeks apart, followed by a booster at 6 months after the 2nd shot.
Further booster shots are required annually to maintain immunity.



Strangles is a contagious respiratory disease caused by the bacteria Streptococcus equi.

It is transmitted directly from infected or carrier animals, and can cause fever, mucopurulent nasal discharge, swelling and enlargement of the lymph nodes, inappetence, depression and/or ocular discharge. This vaccine is recommended to be given if your horse travels a lot and is regular in contact with other horses e.g. to shows, events, studs, races.

Vaccination can start in foals at 4 – 6 months of age
Initial course; 3 shots 2 weeks apart
Boosters given annually