Ask Dr. Harman: Work Horses After Vaccines?

Question: We are booking our horses’ spring vaccinations (unfortunately mandatory due to showing), and we are wondering – should we work the horses the day they get vaccinated, or give them a day off? Some people suggest that working them helps move things through their system and prevents soreness – others say that they should have the day off to rest because they will likely be sore/tired anyways. Thoughts?
Answer: The first question is who is requiring it? Though any private show facility can require certain vaccines, in most states there are no universal requirements for vaccines. I have heard of barn owners, trainers and veterinarians say that vaccines are required for showing, but you can check each states requirements for Coggins and vaccines by searching the web. The show rules will give you the individual private requirements.
Any vaccine is stressful to the immune system. So, the short answer to your question is: no work the day of a vaccine. I would prefer not to work the horse hard for several days afterwards. Never vaccinate just before going to a show. A vaccine takes 10 days to 2 weeks to take effect and the stress of the show may cause the horse to feel worse.  The horse also will have a suppressed immune system for those 10 plus days and could be more susceptible to becoming sick at a show or just after. 
It can be useful to give the homeopathic remedy Ledum 30 just after the vaccine and for a day or two after to counteract some of the negative effects. 

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