Vaccinating your mare during pregnancy is critical to protecting the health of her developing foal. The most important vaccinations are 2-in-1 for tetanus and strangles, equine herpes virus and Hendra virus, depending on the area where you live.
Foals are born without any immunity to disease, which is why it’s imperative that your mare is vaccinated against tetanus and strangles four weeks prior to her expected due date. Most commonly, these vaccinations are given together in the 2-in-1 vaccine.
Your newborn foal will receive the complete benefits of this protection by consuming a sufficient amount of colostrum within two hours of birth. Watch your mare and foal carefully after delivery to ensure your foal is able to nurse, without difficulty or hindrance by its dam.
Equine herpes virus
If equine herpes virus is a risk on your property, your mare should be vaccinated against strains EHV-1 and EHV-4. At its most severe, EHV-1 can cause abortions in pregnant mares, which is simply heart-wrenching for mare owners.
Vaccinating against equine herpes virus should be discussed early on in your mare’s pregnancy, as she’ll need to be vaccinated three times during her pregnancy. Most veterinarians recommend vaccinating at five, seven and nine months of gestation.
Finally, if your mare is located in regions where Hendra virus cases have occurred, particularly Queensland and New South Wales, or where bats are located. Hendra vaccination is strongly advised. Any Hendra virus vaccine must be administered by a veterinarian and recorded on the national database.