Lunch-n-Learn horticulture program to be held May 5 in Early

Scott Anderson
Special to the Bulletin
Scott Anderson

Wednesday, May 5 is the date of the next Lunch-N-Learn horticulture program. The May 5 program will be held at Hardwick’s Nursery located just north of the mall on US Highway 183 North in Early. It will be from noon – 1 p.m. The topic will be spring landscape and vegetable garden management. There will be a tour of Hardwick’s Nursery included.

We will discuss yard tree/shrub care, lawn management, fertilizer selection and use, weed management, special tree needs, new tree/shrub selection and care. Plus has your landscape really covered from the late winter storm we had.

The May 5 program is part of a series of home horticulture programs being conducted by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. The remaining dates for the Lunch-N-Learn series are May 5, June 2 and July 7. All of these programs are open to anyone interested. There is a $25 registration fee payable at the door to attend the remaining series of programs or $10 per program. No pre-registration is needed. For more information, contact the Brown County Extension Office at 325-646-0386.

Keep Your Horse Vaccinations Current

Texas has more horses than any other state in the nation, according to Texas Farm Bureau. They say Texas has four times as many horses as Kentucky. Summer is close.  Many horse-related activities are beginning in our area. Now is a good time to update your horse vaccinations if you haven’t already done so. Vaccinations are a vital part of health maintenance for your horse. They provide an active immunity to protect the horse against diseases they are intended for. Giving vaccinations does not keep your horse from getting a disease, but it gives your horse’s immune system a head starts in fighting off the disease which usually results in less symptoms if any at all.  It is recommended to vaccinate your horse before you are showing/rodeoing or co-mingling with other outside horses.

The American Association of Equine Practitioners recommends that all horses be vaccinated for a core set of vaccines. They include Eastern and Western Equine Encephalomyelitis (EEE and WEE respectively), Rabies, Tetanus, and West Nile Virus. Other vaccines are available and considered to be risked-based depending on the activities of the horse and/or location. According to the Texas A&M Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, TVMDL, 98% of West Nile cases in horses last year were in non-vaccinated horses. Texas did have some confirmed cases of EEE last year.

Each vaccination has specific guidelines although most require an annual booster. Typically, those booster vaccinations are administered in the spring before the onset of vector season. Certain horse diseases are spread by vectors such as mosquitos and flies. Vaccinations for diseases that are spread from horse to horse should be timed according to highest exposure or travel and might require more frequent boosting than annually. Specific AAEP guidelines for each vaccination are available at http:// www.aaep.org/custdocs/AdultVaccinationChart.pdf.

Most horse owners opt to get their vaccinations from their veterinarian, although some of the core vaccines are also available at feed stores/animal supply stores.

In general, you want to purchase vaccinations from a reputable source. Poor handling can lead to ineffective vaccines. Correct administration of vaccines is also paramount and should only be performed by an experienced individual like your veterinarian. Vaccines have become very convenient and are often offered in single doses that include multiple vaccines. A 5-way typically contains EEE, WEE, Tetanus, Flu, and Rhino. A 6-way has the 5-way plus West Nile Virus. Always check the label or ask questions to ensure you are vaccinating for what is recommended. Rabies is not available over the counter and must be administered by a veterinarian in a solitary dose. Start planning your horse’s vaccinations now. Some veterinary practices offer low-cost vaccine clinics in the spring to provide convenience and savings for the horse owner. You will want to vaccinate at least four weeks in advance of vector season to give your horse optimal protection. Foals and young horses usually have a slightly different vaccination protocol than mature using/pleasure horses. Brood mares also have a different vaccination protocol. There is also an equine rattlesnake vaccination available now.

Check with your veterinarian, it is now possible to get a certificate of veterinary inspection (health papers) that is valid for six months instead of the standard 30 days.

Again, it is best to consult your veterinarian before administering equine vaccinations. More information about health management, disease control and vaccinations is available at http://animalscience.tamu.edu/ livestock-species/equine/publications/ under “Best Management Practices for Equine Disease Prevention.”