Infectious Diseases can kill: why take the risk?

When it comes to avoiding deadly and devastating diseases in our horses, being well informed and proactive goes a long way.  One of the best ways to be help protect against disease is to vaccinate.


What is Vaccination?

Vaccination is a way of stimulating a horse’s immune system to protect it against harmful organisms, such as bacteria or viruses without the horse being exposed to the risk of serious illness or death.


How do vaccines work?

Vaccines work by stimulating active immunity. This causes the immune system to produce antibodies that specifically target a particular disease. Most vaccines contain tiny amounts of dead or damaged bacteria or viruses. Because they are dead or damaged, they can’t actually cause disease but they are still capable of stimulating an immune response.

Following vaccination, if your horse comes in contact with the natural form of the bacteria or virus, the immune system ‘remembers’ the organism and quickly produces antibodies that specifically target the bacteria or virus. These antibodies repel or kill the organism, to prevent infection.


Why are vaccines important?

Horses are at risk of a number of serious infectious diseases, some of which can be fatal. Regular vaccinations can help protect your horse, by ensuring they produce enough antibodies to fight off a specific disease, or at least reduce the impact of the disease if they are exposed to it.

Vaccination is proven to help protect against many serious equine diseases. There are often no specific cures for these, and treatment can be extremely expensive with no guarantee of success.


How many vaccinations are needed?

Your horse will generally need a series of vaccines as follows:

  • An initial series of vaccinations, called the primary course, are given over a period of weeks – to get antibodies to the required levels
  • Over time, the levels of antibodies begin to fall and immunity starts to wear off. To continue protecting your horse, a booster vaccination is given at regular intervals which ‘tops up’ your horse’s immunity levels.

Vaccinate against two of the most common horse diseases in Australia with one vaccine!

Equivac 2 in 1 helps protect your horse against both Tetanus and Strangles


Tetanus bacteria live in the soil all over the world, so all horses are at risk of this disease. Any place that a horse can be injured, there is a risk of tetanus.   The bacteria enter the horse’s body through wounds – often the wounds will be so small they are not noticed by the owner.1  Once inside the horse’s body, the bacteria multiply and produce a toxin that attacks the central nervous system, causing uncontrollable muscle spasms. 

More than 80% of horses that get Tetanus will die.2



 Strangles is a respiratory disease caused by bacteria called Streptococcus equi. It causes high temperatures, swollen glands, a nasty ‘snotty’ nasal discharge, laboured breathing and inappetence.  Horses usually recover, but they can be unwell and recovering for a long period – and what’s more, horses that get Strangles must be isolated for 6 weeks!3

Strangles is highly contagious, and can spread from horse to horse by contact, or by feed buckets, grooming equipment or even on people!4

Any horse that travels to compete, or mixes with other horses should be vaccinated for strangles twice a year.5


Equivac 2 in 1 helps protect your horse from Tetanus and Strangles in one injection. 


Vaccination Schedule for Equivac 2 in 1

Priming Dose (for foals or horses with an unknown history)

  • 3 doses given not less than 2 weeks apart

Booster Dose

  • Six monthly for horses with high strangles risk (contact with other horses)
  • Annually for all other horses


1. Zoetis Technical Brief: Tetanus and unnecessary tragedy
2. Dennis, El Hage, Brookes (2016) Current perceptions in the treatment and prevention of horses in australia. In: Proceedings of the 38th Bain Fallon Lectures, p19
3. retrieved on 12/11/20
4. Sweeney et al (2005) Streptococcus Equii Infections in horses; guidelines for treatment, control and prevention of strangles. J Vet Internal Med.
5. Equivac S Registered label