group of horses

Herd Immunity

What is Herd Immunity?

Your horse is part of a herd whether this is their field companion, the other horses on the yard or even the other horses in your local area. The impact of this is that your horse may be at risk of picking up an infectious disease even if it doesn’t leave home and will contribute to the spread of this to other susceptible horses.

Herd immunity is a form of immunity that occurs when the vaccination of a significant portion of a herd provides a measure of protection for individuals who have not developed immunity.  In these situations the disease is unable to spread because there are too few susceptible horses left to propagate the outbreak.

In Britain it is estimated that less than 50% of horses are vaccinated for ‘flu’ but this needs to be considerably higher to achieve herd immunity and provide better protection for Britain’s horses.

Herd immunity is also important with other infectious diseases such as strangles and herpes. A greater uptake of vaccination against these diseases will provide better protection for both the individual animal and our local and national herd.

How vaccination increases herd immunity in horses from Keep Britain's Horses Healthy on Vimeo

What should I do now? 

  • Check your horses vaccination status
  • Ask yourself - Is my horse at risk of disease? Is my horse putting other horses at risk of disease?
  • Discuss a suitable vaccination protocol with your vet
  • Discuss yard protocols for new arrivals and what to do in the event of a possible disease outbreak with the yard manager.

Where can I go for further information?

Horse health categories: 

Register and help us keep Britain’s horses healthy

We have made it our mission to reduce the risk of illness and disease in the 1 million horses stabled in Britain.

Register

More Health Stories

Infectious Disease Prevention cover image

Infectious Disease Prevention

Disease prevention relies on a combination of good biosecurity and vaccination

Why should I vaccinate my horse

My horse doesn’t need to leave the yard so do I need to vaccinate?

Is your vet onboard?

Find participating vets in your area and connect with them to arrange a vaccination plan for your horse and to discuss preventative health.

Search all Health Advice