With vaccines readily available at farm supplies stores, online pharmacies and other retailers, it’s sometimes tempting to save a few dollars by purchasing and administering them to your animals yourself.
There are hidden risks and costs associated with vaccinating animals yourself, therefore “cheaper” vaccines aren’t the value they first appear to be.
Ask your veterinarian to develop a customized vaccine program for your horse. Having your veterinarian administer vaccines is always safer, easier and a better value in the long run than doing it yourself.
Here are several good reasons why your veterinarian is the best choice for administering vaccines:
Proper Handling of the Vaccine
Many vaccines require special handling and storage, for instance, protection from extremes of temperature or exposure to light to preserve its effectiveness. Rely on a licensed veterinarian to store and handle the vaccine properly—and to make sure the vaccine isn’t past its expiration date!
A licensed veterinarian knows about safe administration: clean environment, an appropriate injection site and good documentation. They also know the best time of year to vaccinate and whether vaccinations would react with any medications being administered to the horse. Your veterinarian will document the vaccine’s serial number and administration date—especially important in the event of a manufacturer’s recall. This is one instance when poor documentation could put your animal in peril.
Availability for Treatment of Adverse Reactions
Any injection can result in adverse effects—mild swelling at the injection site, lethargy and a slight fever for one to two days, the immediate outbreak of hives and life-threatening anaphylaxis. If your veterinarian is administering the vaccine, he’ll know what to do to counteract a reaction—and he’ll have the medicine to do it.
When you think about the risks of doing it yourself, it only makes good sense to have a licensed professional administer vaccines.