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From April 14th 2020, BELL will be following the latest advice from the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) and subject to strict social distancing will be undertaking a wider range of work in order to protect equine welfare over a more prolonged ‘lockdown’ period.

In particular we will be performing some vaccinations when these are required and can be performed safely with minimal risk including:

1st vaccinations
2nd vaccinations (21-92 days after 1st)
3rd vaccinations of the primary course course (150-215 days after 2nd)
Annual Booster vaccinations if due in the next month
Vaccinations of mares in foal

We will NOT be doing 6 month influenza (flu) booster vaccines (after a primary course of 3 vaccines has been completed).

For clients already registered with us on the 28th February 2020 who have missed their booster vaccination due to the covid-19 pandemic and wish to restart the vaccination course, we will help minimise the costs. In these cases the first vaccination and visit of the restarted course will be charged as normal, but the second vaccination (21-92 days after the first) and second visit will be free of charge (limited to certain appointment days/times).

In line with our previous posts strict social distancing rules will apply. For all vaccination visits the following will be required:

  • We will contact you on the day of the visit to ensure that you/ your horse handler are not self isolating due to Covid-19

  • We will consider the needs for vaccination in each case and any risks to doing so with social distancing

  • Leave your horse tied up with the passport nearby. Stand 10 metres away.

  • Needle shy horses may not be vaccinated – please respect our vet’s decision on this. We must protect our vets from injury and the NHS from an increased work load

  • Any discussion regarding your horse should be on the phone either prior to or after the appointment

  • Please have all access gates open and ready for the vet to arrive & do not have any free running dogs on the yard at the time of the visit.

All other work will be considered on a case by case basis, strictly following the RCVS guidance. Please call us to discuss this with our vets. For example we will not be performing pre-purchase examinations or low grade performance work ups at this time.

Our vets will not accept cash payments. Payments must be made on the day of the appointment by phone or online.

Thank you for your patience and understanding whilst we all navigate this unprecedented situation. 

In accordance with Jockey Club or Show Committee Rules and to enable animals to be admitted to show grounds and racecourses etc. for competition purposes, horses, ponies and donkeys should be vaccinated as follows:

  • A Primary Course of two injections not less than 21 days or more than 92 days apart.  Medically we prefer to give the second vaccination 4 - 6 weeks after the first
  •  A first Booster must be given 5 - 7 months (not less than 150 days and not more than 215 days) after the second injection of the Primary Course
  • Thereafter, annual Boosters are to be given not more than 12 months apart. 

Thus a typical vaccination pattern would be:

1st  January 2019 (F&T)
1st  February 2019 (F&T)
1st August 2019 (F)
31st July 2020 (F&T)
30th July 2021 (F)
29th July 2022 (F&T)  etc.

After the initial course tetanus vaccinations are usually required every two years depending on which type of vaccine has been used previously. The vet will check this when they visit and it is one of the reasons why we ask for the passport to be ready.

If at any time an injection is given later than is required under these rules, the whole sequence must be started from the beginning, including the 5 - 7 month booster.

HERE is a handy tool from the British Riding Club to work out when your horse's vaccinations will be due.

HORSES AND PONIES COMPETING IN FEI COMPETITIONS REQUIRE 6 MONTHLY FLU VACCINATIONS - please follow this link. These rules are meant for competition purposes.  1st and 2nd vaccinations give sufficient cover for shows (cover valid 7 days from 2nd vaccination until 3rd vaccination is due) but it is always wise to check with the governing body if your horse has not yet had the full primary course.  Tetanus is not necessary for shows.

Remembering when your horse's vaccination is due is your responsibility!  Historically, we have issued vaccination reminders by text to your mobile phone to jog your memory, and we will continue to provide this service but these reminders should not be relied on 100%.  If your horse's vaccination goes over its due date, the course will have to be started again and you will incur unnecessary costs.  It helps the vet if your horse's passport is available for signature at the time of vaccination.

Animals can be gently exercised after any vaccinations but should not be worked hard or sweated up for 48hours post vaccination.

Foals should have 1st F&T vaccination at 5 months (or from 2-3 months if insufficient colostrum).  Young foals are protected by vaccinating the dam in the last 6 weeks of pregnancy and ensuring that they receive the first milk (colostrum) in first 8-12 hours after birth to receive antibodies.

For further information on mare & foals, see HERE for our section on reproduction or contact BELL on 01622 813700 and speak to one of the vets.

From 1 January 2005 onwards, influenza vaccination for all horses competing in FEI competitions requires a vaccination within six months + 21 days of the competition. ** This has also been applied by many other governing bodies and show centres after the equine influenza outbreak in 2019. 

1. All horses intending to participate in FEI competition must have at least received an initial primary course of two vaccinations, given between 21 and 92 days apart. Thereafter, a third dose (referred to as the first booster) must be given within 6 months + 21 days after the date of administration of the second primary dose, with at least annual boosters given subsequently (i.e. within one year of the last dose).

2. If the horse is scheduled to take part in an FEI competition, the last booster must have been given within 6 months + 21 days of arrival at the FEI event. (The 21 day window has been provided to enable vaccination requirements to fit in with the competition schedule).

3. No vaccination shall be given within 7 days of the day of arrival at the FEI event.

4. All horses that were certified as correctly vaccinated under the previous FEI equine influenza vaccination rule prior to 1st January 2005, do not need to start a primary course again provided that they have complied with the previous rule of primary course and annual revaccinations and the new rule of a booster vaccination within 6 months + 21 days of the day of arrival at the FEI event.

5. In addition to the FEI requirements: for horses importing to the US all vaccination must be completed at least 14 days prior to export to the US.

Vaccines, Administration and Certification

  • All proprietary equine influenza vaccines are acceptable to the FEI irrespective of the route of administration.
  • All vaccines must be administered by a Veterinarian.
  • The vaccination should be administered according to the manufacturer’s instructions (i.e. intramuscular injection or intranasal).
  • The details of the vaccine, serial/batch number, the date and route of administration must be recorded in the FEI passport.
  • Where vaccination details are to be entered into new FEI passports/recognition cards or duplicates, if the vaccination history of the horse is very long, the Veterinarian who completes the descriptive page of the passport/recognition card may use a specific statement to certify that the vaccinations have been administered in accordance with FEI regulations (for the extract of the wording see Veterinary Regulations, Annex XIII.I.11).

A reminder regarding the most recent Guidelines for Equine Influenza vaccinations on FEI passports taken from the FEI website.