Vaccinating Foals 

Vaccination of foals is intended to stimulate the immune system of the foal to produce antibodies, a process termed active immunisation. Protection of a foal against infectious diseases begins before birth. Pregnant mares should be vaccinated as prepartum vaccination stimulates the immune response of the mare to produce antibodies. These antibodies will eventually be sequestered or concentrated in the colostrum. Ingestion of colostrum from vaccinated mares during the first 12 to 24 hours of a foal’s life results in the passive transfer of high levels of maternal antibodies to the foal. It is also recommended that mares be moved to the farm where they will foal approximately 4 to 6 weeks prior to their due date. This should allow sufficient time for the mare to develop an immune response to pathogens present on that specific farm before foaling.  

In Australia there are four main diseases that foals are commonly vaccinated for. These diseases are: 

  1. Tetanus 
  2. Strangles  
  3. Salmonella  
  4. Equine Herpes Virus (EHV) 

Generally, it is advisable to start foal vaccinations at 12 weeks of age. Below are some general guidelines that can be used as a vaccination schedule: 

  • 12 weeks old: First Vaccination of Equivac 2 in 1 (Tetanus/Strangles), Salmonella and Duvaxyn EHV  
  • 14 weeks old: Equivac S – (Strangles)  
  • 16 weeks old: Equivac 2 in 1 (Tetanus/Strangles) and Salmonella  
  • 20 weeks old: Duvaxyn (EHV)  
  • 24 weeks old: Duvaxyn (EHV )  

After 24 weeks old, booster vaccinations for EHV are then recommended every 6 months for maximum protection. Tetanus/ Strangles 2 in 1 vaccination boosters are usually recommended either every six months or annually, depending on individual circumstances. It is important to recognise that Strangles, Salmonella & Equine Herpes Virus vaccinations help prevent these diseases and reduce the severity/ duration of the disease, however they do not provide total protection. 

Note: In some areas of Australia, some veterinarians also recommend that foals be vaccinated for Hendra Virus. The Hendra Virus Vaccination can be given from 4 months of age. Two doses are required and are given three weeks apart followed by periodic boosters. Your veterinarian will be able to advise you if vaccinating your foal for Hendra virus is necessary. 


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