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Dr. Harvey Domoslai, DVM

Corman Park Veterinary Services
5 miles West of Saskatoon, sk
on Highway 14 at Saskatoon Livestock Sales

Full facilities for the management of equine health issues.

Dr. Harvey Domoslai, DVM
Phone: (306) 384-7676
Emergencies: (306) 227-8331

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Horse Owner Today

Live vs Killed Vaccine

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   July 16, 2012 12:05

Question: Hello, I live in Wisconsin, just had my Peruvian Paso horse vaccinated with a 4 way given by my boarding facility and a West Nile that I bought. My horse reacted to the 4 way with a touch of "flu". He did not eat or move for 2 days, and after 2 weeks, he seems to be getting back to his old self. She said it was probably due to a "live virus" vaccine. What's the difference between "killed" and "live" and what is best for my horse? The last 2 years, I have given him a 4 way, and I have never seen him react like that. I really appreciate your time. Thank you so much. Sincerely, Carol Harkner

Carol:  A live virus is actually a modified live virus particle that is able to replicate and therefore stimulate a much stronger and sustained immune response in your horse.  A killed virus is just as it says killed particles that passively float in your horses body promoting immunity.   In my opinion live vaccines are always better however by there very nature are more reactive than killed vaccines.  I’d check the brand of four way used on your horse and use a different brand next year.  There sometimes is a carrier or immune modulator added to vaccines that your horse may have reacted to.  That is not saying the vaccine is no good or never worked it’s just your horse is sensitive to it. Good luck next year.
Dr. Harv

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West Nile Booster

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   July 13, 2012 20:37

Question:  Hi there. You did herd health for us earlier this spring. I was just curious...do we need a booster shot for the West Nile?
Thanks E.
Answer:  Hi E, If your horse has previously been vaccinated (in the past 2-3 years) you don't need a booster. If this is their first vaccine, yes you need to boost at this time. Thanks -Dr.D.

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