At Nithsdale Vets we provide vaccinations against the two most common diseases in horses, equine influenza and tetanus. Vaccinations should be a routine part of your horse’s health care regime and are a good chance to give your horse a health check by the vet. Vaccinations can be started in foals from 5 moths of age however in some circumstances Tetanus may be given earlier.

Equine influenza (Flu) – This is a highly contagious viral disease of the respiratory tract. The disease can be spread through direct contact, indirectly by handlers or through the air. With an incubation period of between one to five days this makes outbreaks between unvaccinated horses very common.

The vaccination programme for Flu is as follows:

  • 1st primary vaccine
  • 2nd primary vaccine (4 weeks later)
  • 3rd vaccine (6 months after 2nd primary)
  • Booster every year there after within 365 days (1 day over and the course will need to be restarted!)

Tetanus – Tetanus is a disease caused by the bacteria Clostridium tetani which is found in the soil. Tetanus becomes a problem when the bacterium enters the body via a skin wound or most commonly through a puncture wound to the hoof. Tetanus is generally given in a combined vaccine with equine influenza but can be given as a stand alone vaccine if required.

The vaccination programme for Tetanus is as follows:

  • 1st primary vaccine
  • 2nd primary vaccine (4 weeks later)
  • 1st Booster 365 days after 2nd primary
  • Booster every 2 years there after

If your horse is not vaccinated or its vaccinations have lapsed and it sustains a wound  it is important that a single tetanus anti-toxin injection is given to prevent infection. This is not the same as a vaccination but will provide cover for a short period following the incident.

*We will always try our best to phone our clients and remind them when their horses vaccinations are due but please be aware it is ultimately your responsibility to make sure your horses vaccinations are kept up to date*

Passports and Microchips

It is a legal requirement for all horses, ponies and donkeys to have a passport in the UK.

Since 1st July 2009 foals are required to have a microchip and passport within 6 months of birth or by the 31st December in the year they were born, whichever comes later.

For any horses and ponies born before 1st July 2009 who do not already have a passport, they will also need to have a microchip. If your horse was issued with a passport before 1st July 2009 they are not legally required to have a microchip.


We provide only basic equine services at Nithsdale but we are happy to offer referral for your horse or pony to other practices and universities with greater facilities should this be required.


Worming is important as high burdens can cause gut problems such as colic, diarrhoea, weight loss, blockages and impaired growth in young horses. In the case of pinworm it can cause itching and hair loss around the tail head.

Pasture management is essential to help try and reduce worm burdens. Collecting droppings from the grazing area at least twice weekly is a must.

Deciding when to worm can be aided by carrying out worm egg counts 3 -4 times per year. A once yearly dose for tapeworm and red worm larvae should be carried out in the autumn regardless.

Some worms can be very hard to treat and are resistant to many wormers. Different wormers will treat different types or st ages of worms and only certain drugs  may be given to pregnant mares and young horses. You should discuss with your vet which wormer is appropriate to use and when. Instructions on the packaging of wormers should be carefully read and adhered to.