Vaccination Information

Information compiled by:

Anne Lichtenwalner, DVM, PhD
University of Maine Cooperative Extension
Dept. of Animal and Veterinary Sciences
Director, Cooperative Extension Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory
17 Godfrey Drive, Orono, ME 04473
207.581.2789 / 207.581.4430 fax

Maine 4-H Horse Vaccination Statement

“4-Hers attending 4-H horse events must provide proof of current, annual vaccination for rabies as well as a current Coggins test done by a veterinarian.

EVH-1 and Equine Influenza are also required, horse owners may, however administer their own EVH-1 and Equine Influenza inoculations and a sales receipt will be sufficient evidence for proof of vaccination. EVH-1 and Equine Influenza are considered effective for six months. Plan the timing of your inoculations with your last event in mind.

It is recommended that your horse is current on EEE in consultation with your local practicing veterinarian.” 

Horse Disease Information

EIA — Equine Infectious Anemia (swamp fever), a viral disease, spread by biting, infected “horse flies”.

  • Clinical signs: high fever, labored breathing, exhaustion and high pulse
  • Treatment: there is no vaccine or treatment other than supportive therapy. Infected horse should be isolated immediately.
  • Prevention: controlling the disease via Coggins testing every 3 years for intrastate travel and testing annually for interstate travel.

Rabies — life threatening neurological disease. Spread by infected saliva.

  • Clinical signs: abnormal behavior, dull, depressed, aggressive, fearful, uncoordinated, difficulty swallowing, muscle tremors, convulsions, unable to stand
  • Treatment: none
  • Prevention: annual vaccination

EHV-1 — Equine Herpes Virus (Rhinopheumonitis – rhino), spread with direct or indirect contact with virus laden nasal discharge, aborted fetus or placenta.

  • Clinical signs: fever, nasal discharge (clear & congestion), mild to severe paralysis, cough, abortion
  • Treatment: isolating horse, introduce good hygiene management
  • Prevention: annual vaccination and good sanitary practices

Equine Influenza — acute, highly contagious respiratory disease.

  • Clinical signs: high fever, cough
  • Treatment: rest and care if no complications appear. Restricted exercises
  • Prevention: annual vaccination

EEE — Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis (sleeping sickness), the virus has three strains, Eastern, Western and Venezuelan.  Eastern occurs more often and currently has the highest mortality rate. Transmitted via mosquitoes.

  • Clinical signs: fever, depression, diarrhea, drowsy appearance, self mutilation, hyper-excitability, refuses to eat or drink, incoordination, head pressing, paralysis
  • Treatment: supportive care, mortality rate is high.
  • Prevention: annual vaccine before mosquito season and mosquito control

Tetanus — “lockjaw,” serious disease of the central nervous system. High mortality rate. Caused by toxins released by bacteria that infect wounds, traditionally puncture wounds.

  • Clinical signs: not able to open mouth, eyes wide open and ears rigid, stiffness in body, extreme
  • Sensitivity to sounds, sights and touch, convulsions
  • Treatment: tetanus antitoxins,  supportive care, mortality rate is high
  • Prevention: annual vaccination

West Nile Virus — causes inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, transmitted by infected mosquitoes

  • Clinical signs: fever, diarrhea, weakness in both hind and front end, falling a lot, muscle tremors, becomes aggressive, stall walking, hyper-sensitivity to touch or sound, seizures, blindness, weak tongue, difficulty swallowing
  • Treatment: intravenous fluids and anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Prevention: annual vaccination and mosquito control