Ask Horse Journal: 06/05

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Strangles Vaccines
There seems to be controversy regarding the intranasal strangles vaccine. Some veterinarians recommend it, admitting it isn’t 100% effective but saying it should offer considerable protection should an outbreak occur. Others say it isn’t effective enough. Still others say it’s too risky to give as there are known cases of horses getting strangles form the vaccine.

Can horses actually get strangles from the vaccine' What does Horse Journal recommend' I find your magazine a great source of information and am always referring.

HJ Response

They’re all right, to an extent. It’s true there have been some instances where horses developed symptoms of strangles (lymph node enlargement, nasal discharge, even purpura) following the intranasal vaccine and where cultures have proven the vaccine strain was involved. However, many of these have happened when there was a risk factor involved, such as a young age or a possibility the horse had already been exposed to the naturally occurring strain.

The intramuscular form of the vaccine has its own problems, including severe abscessation at the vaccination site and purpura. Another drawback of the intramuscular form is that it doesn’t provide the same level of protection as the intranasal. All things considered, the intranasal vaccine offers superior protection and a lower risk of vaccine reactions. We’d use the intranasal, but wouldn’t use it or any other vaccine in a horse that is not at risk of exposure, or one that is under any stress or battling any medical condition.

Horses already exposed to strangles naturally likely have lifelong immunity. Very old horses may lose their immunity, but they aren’t likely to respond well to vaccines either so it’s best to keep this group away from other horses that may bring in diseases.

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Jiaogulan For Laminitis
I was quite excited to read about your use of the herb Jiaogulan for laminitis, but how do I measure the prescribed dosage, since I don’t have a scale'

HJ Response

A level half teaspoon is approximately 1000 mg. However, Jiaogulan is not a cure-all for laminitis. It remains vitally important that the horse’s feet be correctly trimmed, with the toes and heels low enough to establish correct trimmed to establish correct alignment of the coffin bone.