African Horse Sickness
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

I have an imported horse which arrived in June 2007. She was innoculated on arrival in June and again in Decemebr with both AHS I & II. I have been told that a horse will only be safely immune once it has had 6 injections (i.e. 3x AHS I and 3x AHS II). How long must I wait until she can have another set of innoculations? I have been told a minimum of 5 months wait is optimal?

Asked: 23/1/2008, 13:35 by Michelle Maine.
Answered: 26/1/2008, 15:59 by James Urry.

So far you have correctly followed the recommended vaccination schedule for a previously unexposed horse or a horse which has received no colostral immunity from its mother. In my opinion the horse will have a fairly good/strong immunity at this stage and I would not advise you vaccinate it more frequently than that advised by the manufacturers, which is basically once a year following the initial 2 vaccinations 6 months apart. No vaccine is 100% effective anyway (usually 95%) but you would have given it the majority of the immunity (80- 90% at an estimate) it will achieve after the initial 2 vaccinations. Subsequent vaccinations only add a little more each time. One can "over-vaccinate" and consequently the immune system can't respond adequately. A third series within 6 months would do no harm but thereafter annually would be more than sufficient to protect the horse.

Dr Gary Buhrmann, Chief State Veterinarian, Boland


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