Equine Viral & Bacterial Disease Information

Viral Diseases Versus Bacterial Diseases and Vaccinations

While bacteria can usually be killed with antibiotics, viruses, once they enter the body, are very difficult to kill with medications. The reason is that the virus uses the host cells to replicate itself rather than doing so independently of the host cells as bacteria do.

This is one reason why viral diseases like AIDS, Herpes, and Hepatitis are such a significant problem in human medicine. Fortunately for our horses, while most viral diseases are difficult to treat, we have very effective ways of preventing these diseases through vaccination. The bacterial infections in horses are somewhat more difficult to prevent through vaccination. In fact, many have no vaccination available at all, but they are responsive to antibiotics.

The take-home lesson is that viral diseases in horses are generally easy to vaccinate against and difficult to treat, while the bacterial diseases are a little more problematic to vaccinate against but are easier to treat.

Imagine for a moment you knew nothing about cars. They all look very much alike: four wheels, seats, steering wheel, etc. Most of them consume fuel and will get you from point A to point B. They all appear to be about equal. They are not.

Now let’s put an economy car next to an industry/insurance/consumer-rated, top-of-the-line vehicle. Assuming that the maintenance costs are the same, would the rated car be a better choice over the economy car, even if it cost a few dollars more? If the car cost $100 more, would not the wise person choose the safer and better built car? The choice of vaccinations can be a very similar situation.

Some vaccinations are very inferior products, and they may sell for a few dollars less in the feed stores. They may even have fancy advertisements in the equine magazines. Quite frequently these products are marketed this way because the veterinary profession chooses not to use them. Why? The reason is that when your veterinarian chooses a vaccination for your horse, the decision is based on hundreds (perhaps thousands) of does used prior to vaccinating your horse.

There are two things your veterinarian does not want to see happen when vaccinating your horse:

Equine Veterinary Associates Inc., does not want to see your horse get sick from a vaccination reaction. (Unfortunately this can happen any time a foreign substance is injected into a living system, but veterinarians want the incidence of this to be as low as possible.)

EVA does not want vaccination failure: we do not want the horse to get sick later from the disease for which we vaccinated. (In other words, the vaccination did not work.)

It is unwise to save a few dollars by using a poorly made vaccination and then spend multiple times that amount when the horse has vaccination failure or a severe post-vaccination reaction.

At Equine Veterinary Associates Inc., we choose the best, safest, most effective vaccination on the market regardless of cost. We have tried them all, and we know what products are out there, which ones work best, and which ones have minimal side effects.