Vaccinating your horse against Hendra virus

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Google Maps location for Tamborine Mountain Vet Surgery

Tamborine Mountain Vet Surgery
24 Main Street
North Tamborine
QLD 4272

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07 5545 2422
07 5545 2627

Canungra Veterinary Surgery
Pine Rd & Franklin St
QLD 4275

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07 5543 5622
07 5543 4037

Yarrabilba Veterinary Hospital
Adler Cct
QLD 4207

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07 3180 3096

Since 2012, a vaccine that protects horses from Hendra virus has been available.  The vaccine works by stimulating the production of protective antibodies.  If a vaccinated horse is subsequently exposed to Hendra virus, the antibodies work by binding to the viral particles, preventing them from establishing an active infection in the horse.  No live virus is used at any stage during the manufacture of the vaccine, and it therefore cannot cause Hendra virus infections.  The vaccine is used as an aid to prevent clinical disease in horses caused by Hendra virus, and also to reduce viral shedding.  Reduction/prevention of viral shedding is extremely effective in preventing human infection. 

Vaccination is the single most effective way of reducing the risk of Hendra virus infection in horses.  Vaccination is an important measure to prevent human infection and death, and therefore provides a public health and workplace health and safety benefit.  We regard the safety of our staff as an absolute priority.  As of May 31, 2017, our practice will not attend horses that are not up to date with the prescribed vaccination regime (refer to our link outlining in more detail our policy on unvaccinated horses). 

The current vaccine protocol is as follows:

  • an initial primary course of 2 vaccines, with an interval of 21-42 days between vaccines
  • a booster 6 months after the second primary vaccine
  • annual vaccine boosters thereafter 

All vaccinated horses are required to be microchipped.  This allows vaccinated horses to be identified on the national Hendra vaccination database.  The vaccine is regarded as safe for pregnant mares, and is safe for foals over 4 months of age.

There has been much debate and social media discussion about the safety of the vaccine. We have assessed the relevant research into the Hendra virus vaccine and based on this research,  clinical trials and personal experience we strongly recommend the vaccine as a safe and effective prevention of Hendra virus in horses. 

Vaccination of horses is strongly encouraged.  However do not become complacent after your horses have been vaccinated.  Always practice good personal hygiene and sensible husbandry practices when working with horses, regardless of their vaccination status.

If you have any questions about Hendra virus in general, including vaccination protocols, please call us at any time.


Want to know more? Follow these links:

What is Hendra virus? 

How is Hendra virus transmitted?

How to reduce the risk of horses becoming infected

Signs of Hendra virus infection in horses

Tamborine Mountain, Canungra and Yarrabilba Veterinary Services Hendra Virus Policy