Some horse owners like to save money by vaccinating their horses themselves. This practice, while legal, isn’t without its risks. Giving IM injections is pretty simple as long as someone who’s well educated teaches you. However, before you start giving your horse vaccines on your own, consider these four points.
Vaccines Can Cause Reactions
One of the major reasons to hesitate in giving vaccines yourself is that vaccines can cause serious allergic reactions in horses. Even if a horse has had a particular vaccine many times before, it’s still possible for that horse to have an immediate and serious reaction. If a vet is the one to administer the vaccine, then they’ll still be on the premises and will have the medications necessary to get a horse through a reaction. If you give the vaccines yourself, the chances of your horse surviving a serious reaction are very slim.
You May Need Proof of Vaccinations
If you show or travel with your horse, then it’s often required that you be able to provide proof of your horse having been vaccinated. If you give vaccines yourself, it’s a good idea to save the wrappers with the dose numbers on them. However, some shows may push back about this documentation, requesting veterinary documentation.
Storing Vaccines Requires Precision
Vaccines need to be stored and handled with precision. They must be kept at regulated temperatures and they can’t get too warm in transit. Your vet orders vaccines from drug supply companies which know just how to ship and handle vaccines. If you purchase your vaccines from a local feed or supply company, there’s no guarantee that it’s been handled correctly. There’s a chance they’re no longer effective, but you won’t know it.
You Need to Know What You’re Doing
When injecting any substance into your horse’s body, it is essential that you know exactly what you are doing. You should be taught how to give IM injections by a knowledgeable and experienced horse person—ideally a vet. If you learn incorrectly or if you make a mistake, such as injecting into a vein, you could risk your horse’s health and life.
Whether the money you save by doing injections yourself is worth the risk you assume is up to you. You can save yourself the call charge for a vet, but there are other factors to consider when deciding if you will give vaccines on your own. Think about what’s right for you and your horse and make that decision wisely.