No surprise, my vaccine seminar last Thursday was a huge success! You’re welcome. My chosen speaker, Dr. Hancock from Boehringer Ingelheim, was excellent. I was there, which of course was the best part. I conveniently positioned myself in the entryway so each attendee would have to either pet me or step over me on their way in.

If you missed it, you better have a darn good excuse for me. But, since I am a forgiving Tony, I will give you a quick recap:

There was a time not too long ago when we didn’t have vaccines. Then, some brilliant people in black and white photos came along and figured out you could inoculate (that’s a fancy doctor word for vaccinate) a person or animal to protect them against a given disease. Things like Smallpox, Rinderpest, and Polio were all virtually eradicated by this method.

The same technology has been used by the government to develop vaccines against biowarfare agents, like botulism. Dr. Hancock was part of a top-secret mission using draft horses to develop and mass-produce such a vaccine in case of a bio-terrorist attack. Sometimes when I’m bored on the weekends, I pretend I am part of a top-secret government mission to take down the enemy (Teanie).

Anywho, back to vaccines. Some viruses that we vaccinate against are tricky little buggers. West Nile Virus, for example, wasn’t a very big deal until about 15 years ago when it underwent a mutation that enabled it to spread much faster. The flu virus in humans mutates to different strains about once every 8 months! Lucky for horses, equine flu only mutates about once every 10 years.

Also lucky for horses, their humans, and veterinarians, we have smart researchers like the people at Boehringer Ingelheim (that’s the company that produces most of our vaccines). They are constantly monitoring new and established diseases, and updating their vaccines accordingly, to make sure your horses have the best protection possible. This is what makes the vaccines given by our veterinarians superior to, say, ones you could buy at the feed store. (Not that any of our clients would even THINK of doing such a foolish thing!)

Dr. Hancock wasn’t afraid to say it, and neither am I: being anti-vaccination is just stupid! There is ZERO evidence to show that vaccines have any serious negative health effects, and PLENTY of evidence to show how well they work at preventing horrible and deadly diseases. The cost of vaccination is peanuts compared to the cost of treating any of the many diseases they protect against.

If you have any questions about why to vaccinate, when to vaccinate, or what to vaccinate against, I happen to know two pretty brilliant women who also happened to go to veterinary school that would be happy to answer your questions! Tis the season for fall shots, so call early to schedule your appointment. If I am unavailable (I spend a large part of my day sunbathing, self-grooming, and patrolling the perimeter), Stephanie or Mallie will be happy to help you.

Until next time!



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