Tuesdays with Tony
Buckle up, humans. This week I’m bringing all my snark to the table for a tough talk about vaccines. I know you can get vaccines from a lot of different places, but there’s only one place you should get them from: your veterinarian.
Let’s start with the obvious reason. It’s a shot containing advanced technology to save your horse from horrible diseases. The best person to give you guidance on how this powerful tool fits into your horse’s life is a veterinarian. Not every horse needs every possible vaccine, and some need all the possible vaccines. Old and young horses need more. Show horses need them at specific times to give them the best protection while not stressing their immune systems. Sensitive horses need special timing so they can be protected from these diseases without causing their delicate immune systems to go all whack-a-doo. There’s a lot involved, and if you think you can understand all that goes into the decision because you got your Facebook Medical Degree, you’re wrong. Ten out of ten people who decide they can “do their own vaccines because they don’t need a dang vet.” do them wrong. Don’t be one of the ten.
Holy persnickety! Vaccines like it cold, but not too cold, and don’t shake, but maybe a little agitation. I mean, there’s a reason diseases like Polio have been tough to eradicate. You can’t take a vaccine just anywhere without having the perfect conditions for its happiness. They make cats look like a walk in the park when it comes to pickiness. Vaccines come to veterinarians through very specific distribution networks where they are monitored each step of the way. They are only shipped to us on certain days, and when they arrive, they are immediately placed in a fridge that is also temperature monitored. How many of you have a fridge thermometer? No really, how many?
Those vaccines are then treated with the delicacy they expect. Kept cold, but not too cold, until the moment they are delivered into your horse. Think about the supply chain of your nearest big box store that might have ‘tractor’ or ‘rural’ in the name. Do you honestly think that happens there? Because 15 minutes sitting on a loading dock in the sunshine will kill the vaccine, and you’ll never know that your horse isn’t actually vaccinated.
Invested in your horse
Sometimes my Docs don’t sleep so well. They sit at the clinic deep in veterinary reading material, talking with experts in the field. Worrying themselves something awful. You know why? They’re worried about your horse. They’re concerned about a sick horse that they are trying incredibly hard to fix, and Mother Nature is thwarting their every effort. This is who you want researching vaccine technology, managing your horse’s vaccine supply chain, helping you pick the best time and combination, and being there on that rare occasion something goes wrong with a vaccine. Speaking of going wrong, did you know the vaccine companies will pay for treatment if your horse gets a disease your veterinarian vaccinated for? They don’t do that if you buy them elsewhere because they know that vaccine is likely to have been handled incorrectly and compromised along the way.
You know what else your veterinarian will do that the box store won’t do? Keep you on schedule with your vaccines. Everyone has good intentions about vaccinating every six months, but how many times has it really been more like 9 months? A year? More? Trust me, across the local horse spectrum, horses are needlessly put at risk with good intentions a LOT. My docs have a team of people who work every day to keep all of your horses current on vaccines. It’s a good team to have in your corner.
Invest in your Veterinarian
It’s 10pm, it’s still hot outside, the humidity is 1,000%, the mosquitos are biting, and your horse is sick. Having a great relationship with your veterinarian ensures you have one available to answer the phone when you call. That’s a harsh statement from this wise cat. Equine veterinarians are in trouble. Mounting student debt loads, and changing lifestyles mean there are fewer, and fewer, and fewer equine veterinarians entering the field. Don’t even get me started with how many are leaving every.single.day. It’s terrifying.
Making sure you have a relationship with a veterinarian for the routine care of your horse is the best way to keep a veterinarian available for all those emergencies. And you know horses have a lot of them. They are the most suicidal animals on the planet except for love bugs.
It’s also a really good idea for your veterinarian to have a good history of you, your farm, your horse’s lifestyle, and all the other things that factor into the health of your horse. That all happens during routine care appointments. My Docs also find all kinds of minor things that can be dealt with quickly and easily during routine appointments. That saves you money, and prevents needless suffering for your horse.
I have this conversation all the time as people scratch my chin, or give me a pet on the front porch. Vaccines are incredibly important. They are the basis of good healthcare for your horse. Don’t take chances with them. Call my Docs.
Until next week,
P.S. If you want to get into the science of vaccines and really fill your head full of knowledge, check out this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hyVbduPeqnA&t=7s from one of our Vaccine Seminars. As you’ll find out, the more you know about the things we vaccinate for, the more eager you’ll be to stay on top of things!
Tuesdays with Tony is the official blog of Tony the Clinic Cat at Springhill Equine Veterinary Clinic in Newberry, Florida. If you liked this blog, please subscribe below, and share it with your friends on social media! For more information, please call us at (352) 472-1620, visit our website at SpringhillEquine.com, or follow us on Facebook!