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TN Equine Client Appreciation Barn Parties


By Nancy Brannon

Tennessee Equine Hospital (TEH), Eads, Tennessee hosted its annual Client Appreciation Barn Party on Thursday November 8, 2018. The evening included dinner, an update on vaccines and equine disease by Dr. Monty McInturff, and live music from guitarist/singer Grant Terry.

Dr. McInturff’s topic was “Do Vaccines Matter? An Update on Equine Disease.” He began by asking folks if they knew about the EDCC, Equine Disease Communication Center. Most folks know about the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) for people, and this is the equine equivalent organization. The Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) is primarily a communication system that collects and reports real time information about disease outbreaks in horses, similar to how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) alerts the human population about diseases in people.

The EDCC receives notification of verified disease outbreaks from State Animal Health Officials, state veterinarians, accredited diagnostic laboratories, and state agriculture or animal health departments. These reports are confirmed and formed into disease outbreak alerts, which are posted on the on the Disease Outbreak Alerts page at Alerts are also sent to subscribers by email (a free service) and posted social media. The EDCC also provides additional educational resources and information. Founded in 2015, it is an industry-funded, non-profit organization.

Knowing what disease outbreaks are occurring helps inform veterinarians and horse owners so they can take measures to protect their horses against such diseases. Since January 1, 2018 there were 370 reported disease outbreaks on a national level, including: equine influenza, Potomac horse fever, Corona virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis (68 cases), Equine Herpes virus (EHV) (55 cases), Strangles (54 cases), Rabies, West Nile virus (152 cases), and Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) (29 cases).

Locally, at Tennessee Equine Hospital, veterinarians have treated horses for these diseases: Botulism, Rabies, West Nile virus, Influenza, Rhino (respiratory form; no cases of neurologic form), Salmonella, and Strangles.

Dr. McInturff went on to describe what happens to horses who contract some of these diseases and how, often, particular diseases can be fatal and “a horrible way to die,” he explained.

So this is why he and TEH veterinarians highly recommend vaccinations to prevent these diseases in our horses. They also recommend having your veterinarian administer the vaccinations, rather than DIY. The essential core vaccinations are:

·       Eastern/western Encephalomyelitis (annual)

·       Rhono/Flu (at least twice/year)

·       West Nile virus (annual)

·       Tetanus (annual)

·       Strangles (Streptococcus equi) (annual)

·       Botulism (annual)

·       Rabies (annual)

Jacquelin Boggs, DVM, MS, DACVIM, Senior Veterinarian with Zoetis recently sent out information to equine publications about the advantages of veterinarian-administered equine vaccinations. She wrote: “…recent reports from the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) revealed many horse owners and trainers were willing to accept some risk with their horse’s vaccinations, with 50% administering their horse’s vaccinations themselves. The leading reason for self-administration of the vaccines was cost.”

In her reasons for advocating veterinarian-administered vaccinations, she cited proper storage, handling, and use before expiration dates to best preserve a vaccine’s effectiveness; safe administration in a clean environment and injection site; and a vaccine program based on your horse’s age, reproductive status, geographic location, and level of exposure to diseases.

In addition, Zoetis vaccines carry an Equine Immunization Support Guarantee, but to be eligible, a horse must be vaccinated by a veterinarian.

The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) has detailed information on core vaccination guidelines and risk-based vaccination guidelines on their website: There is also information about infectious diseases and how to control them; vaccine storage and handling; foal and adult vaccination charts.

The key takeaway is to help keep your horses healthy by preventing disease through a regular vaccination schedule. And if your horse does become ill, isolate the horse because “a horse running a fever can contaminate other horses,” Dr. McInturff said. Practice good animal husbandry – especially cleanliness, and get veterinary treatment for the horse.

The Client Appreciation Barn Party in Thompson’s Station, Tennessee was the following week, on Thursday November 15, 2018. Guest speaker at this event was six-time USA Olympic Equestrian Team Veterinarian, Dr. Richard Mitchell. Dinner was catered by Circa Grill and live music was provided by the People on the Porch.

Richard D. Mitchell, DVM, MRCVS, Dipl. ACVSMR is co-founder/co-owner of Fairfield Equine Associates in Newtown, Connecticut. He has been involved in national and international equine competitions as both a rider and veterinarian. Mitchell grew up on his family’s working horse farm in North Carolina, and he participated in fox-hunting and hunter/jumper competitions from childhood to adulthood. He graduated from the Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1974. In 2012 he made his fifth visit to the Olympic Games as an attending veterinarian for the US Equestrian Team. He also serves on the Board of Trustees of the American Horse Council. Find more information about Dr. Mitchell at: and on the AAEP website:

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