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Important Respiratory Disease Info

Over the past couple of months there have been numerous reported cases of Strangles, Equine Influenza and, in the past day, EHV-4. These cases have been in Pierce, King, Thurston, Snohomish, and Skagit counties. It is possible that there have been additional unreported cases as well. In light of these disease outbreaks, we wanted to share a few bits of information with our clients.

DO NOT vaccinate your horse in the face of an outbreak!

If there have been suspected or confirmed respiratory illnesses at your horse’s location, it is important to NOT booster their respiratory vaccines (flu, rhino, and strangles). In order for a vaccination to work, it challenges the immune system. If your horse has been exposed to illness, their immune system may already be compromised and working to fight to protect them from the disease. Vaccinating them can further suppress their immune system and make them more susceptible to illness. In the case of Strangles, an infected horse can develop complications including metastatic infection (Bastard Strangles) and immune mediated diseases such as purpura hemorrhagica, which require additional veterinary care. There is only one vaccine labeled and proven to be safe to use in the face of outbreak, and that is FluAvert, which is labeled only for Equine Influenza. If you have any questions about vaccinating, please contact us!

Biosecurity is your best line of defense!

Respiratory diseases are highly contagious and easily transmitted from horse to horse not only by direct contact but can be transmitted on fomites such as clothing, shoes, hoses, grooming materials, tack, car tires, etc. It is imperative that ill horses be quarantined and anyone that comes into contact with them wash their hands, changes clothes, and use disinfecting foot baths before having contact with other horses. Click here for more information on biosecurity.

Keep your horse current on their vaccines!

Respiratory diseases tend to rear their ugly heads with some regularity so it is important to keep your horse well-vaccinated. We recommend vaccinating your horse for Flu and Rhino at least every 6 months and for Strangles every 12 months if they are at boarding facilities, go to shows, trail rides, play days, or other events with foreign horses, or are exposed to horses that come and go from their home facility. We strongly recommend having a veterinarian administer the vaccinations so that your horse is covered by the vaccine guarantees offered by the vaccine manufacturers. These programs will cover the cost of diagnostics and treatment if the horse becomes ill from one of the covered viruses.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions! We can be reached at (253) 535-6999 or

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