Is your horse protected?

Kevin Hankins Senior Technical Services Veterinarian, Zoetis

Is your horse protected Is your horse protected Is your horse protected

How valuable is your horse? You can probably assign a dollar amount, but of course that’s not what I mean. I mean, how much does your horse mean to you? How would you describe your emotional attachment to him or her? 

I’m betting your horse means the world to you and that you consider your horse part of your family. So taking that into account, how important is protecting your horse against serious diseases that are potentially fatal…and preventable

The Perfect Pair

Now there’s a way to deliver the comprehensive disease protection your horse deserves by providing The Perfect Pair of vaccines that protect against the core equine diseases plus influenza and equine herpesvirus in a way that’s backed by research. 

Core EQ Innovator® and Fluvac Innovator® EHV-4/1 from Zoetis are a comprehensive vaccine pair, created apart to help improve the immune response against equine influenza through separate injections.1,2 They help guard against the most prevalent and dangerous equine diseases, with Core EQ Innovator protecting against all five, potentially fatal, core diseases and Fluvac Innovator EHV-4/1 protecting against conventional influenza. They also have been showing cross-reactivity against newly emerging strains in surveillance studies. 

What are core and risk-based vaccines?

The American Association of Equine Practitioners guidelines categorize vaccines as either core or risk-based. All horses should receive core vaccines annually, while risk-based vaccines may be recommended by your veterinarian based on the risk of infection for certain types of horses based on age, exposure to diseases via travel (or to other horses that travel) and breeding status. 

Core vaccines protect against these equine diseases:

  • West Nile virus
  • Eastern equine encephalomyelitis (EEE)
  • Western equine encephalomyelitis (WEE)
  • Tetanus
  • Rabies

Every horse in the United States has the potential to be exposed to every core disease. Much of it has to do with environment: Horses are usually in dirty, muddy surroundings (tetanus), often in proximity to wildlife (rabies) and exposed to mosquitoes (West Nile virus, EEE and WEE). 

Many horses may be at greater risk of particular diseases, including equine herpes virus EHV-4/1 and equine influenza. In these cases, a vaccine that protects against risk-based diseases—those that a particular horse is vulnerable to—is necessary based on what your veterinarian recommends.  

Core diseases have a high mortality rate and are very difficult, if not impossible, to treat. But they’re easy to help prevent, since vaccines that protect against them are extremely effective. Here are five key reasons to talk with your veterinarian about Core EQ Innovator and Fluvac Innovator EHV-4/1 for your horse.

  1. Demonstrated safety

    Safety is always a major concern when you vaccinate your horse. Some vaccines, such as rabies vaccines, have a history of increased reactions after vaccination.

    Core EQ Innovator, which protects agaist all five core diseases including rabies, has been shown in field safety studies to be 99.7% reaction-free.3,4

  2. Proven effectiveness

    In a study, giving Fluvac Innovator EHV-4/1 as a separate injection from Core EQ Innovator provided up to 4.7 times the immune response against equine influenza.2 Plus, ongoing surveillance by the Gluck Equine Research Center at the University of Kentucky shows that Fluvac Innovator EHV-4/1 has been immunologically relevant against newly emerging strains of equine influenza virus.5-8

  3. Ideal vaccine timing

    Traditionally, veterinarians have vaccinated horses for core diseases (except rabies) and influenza in the spring and performed rabies vaccinations and dental check-ups in the fall. It is now recommended by the AAEP that vaccination for all core disease happen in early spring. Late spring and summer are peak times for wildlife that can carry rabies (for example, raccoons, skunks and foxes), as well as for mosquitoes that can carry West Nile virus, EEE or WEE, to infect your horse.

    Because of the time lag between a horse being bitten by a rabid animal and the appearance of clinical signs, it may not be until late fall or winter that clinical signs of rabies become evident. As a result, all horses should receive their rabies vaccination (as well as vaccinations for all core diseases) and a post-winter check-up in early spring. A second visit to conduct a dental exam can be made by the veterinarian each fall.

  4. A customized vaccine schedule

    Separating core and risk-based vaccines allows your veterinarian to create a vaccine schedule that’s tailor-made for your horse and corresponds with what he or she is doing—whether that’s traveling and needing both core and risk-based disease protection or living solo in a field and requiring protection against core diseases. By splitting core from risk-based vaccines, your horse gets a customized vaccination program against the diseases that are most likely to be a threat for your horse.

  5. Peace of mind

    You love your horse, and your veterinarian wants to provide the best care possible. That partnership translates well to having your horse vaccinated with Core EQ Innovator and Fluvac Innovator EHV 4/1, which provides protection against both core and risk-based equine diseases. Rest assured, with The Perfect Pair, your horse is protected and you’re helping lower the risk of disease for your horse. And, when you have your horse vaccinated by your veterinarian with Core EQ Innovator and Fluvac Innovator EHV-4/1, you qualify for the $5,000 Zoetis Equine Immunization Support Guarantee—the most comprehensive vaccination guarantee available.

Contact your local equine veterinarian now to schedule your horse’s early spring vaccine appointment.


  1. Zoetis Inc. Data on file. Study report no. 19EQRGBIO-01-02.
  2. Zoetis Inc. Data on file. Study report no. 14OREQBIO-1.
  3. Zoetis Inc. Data on file. Study report no. B951R-US-14-056.
  4. Zoetis Inc. Data on file. Study report no. B951R-US-16-106.
  5. Zoetis Inc. Data on file. Study report no. 19EQRGBIO-01-02.
  6. Zoetis Inc. Data on file. Study report no. 18EQRGBIO-01-02.
  7. Zoetis Inc. Data on file. Study report no. 21EQRGBIO-01-02.
  8. Dilai M, Piro M, Fougerolle S, et al. Serological investigation of racehorse vaccination against equine influenza in Morocco. Vet Microbiol. 2018; 223(v1.0):153-159.