About Richard L’Estrange BVSc(hons) MANZCVS:

Richard L’Estrange is a 1987 graduate of the University of Queensland Veterinary School. He spent 22 years in veterinary practice before joining Pfizer Animal Health (now Zoetis) in 2010 as a technical services veterinarian. He is a Member of the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists in the field of Veterinary Pharmacology. Richard has a strong interest in equine vaccine-preventable diseases and parasitology and has been the technical lead since 2012 for all of Zoetis’ equine products in Australia. Zoetis is the only company providing equine vaccines to the Australian market, and the only provider of a moxidectin wormer to Australian horse owners.

In my 12 years as a veterinarian with Zoetis, my goal has been to help you keep your animals healthy.  When producing Thoroughbreds, Zoetis plays a critical role.

If your goal is to produce top-quality race horses, it is imperative that you invest in preventative health at every step of the way, as every sickness, every parasite can have a negative effect (however tiny) on the future performance of the horse.

In the coming months, I will talk about diseases and parasites that can affect your horses. I will offer you ways to prevent these diseases – they may be vaccination protocols, new worming protocols, or biosecurity steps that you can take.  I hope that there will be something for everyone in these articles – and I would love to hear from you as well – feel free to shoot me an email at Richard.Lestrange@zoetis.com with any questions – we can talk about them in a general nature here, and I will also get back to you with advice for the particular circumstance you find yourself in.

Zoetis provide all the vaccines that are used in horses in Australia, and produce Equest® Plus Tape, Australia’s leading wormer, so many of you will already be familiar with our products, but they need to be used optimally, so the following resource might help.

Creating a vaccination calendar for a farm of horses can be very complex.  You consider all of the different ages and stages of the horses on your farm and try to cater for each of them, as well as minimise handling costs and stress by batching treatments as much as possible.

To help you with this, we have created a farm management calendar which breaks down the information into what you should do each month, with each group of horses.


You can download the farm management tool, by right clicking and selecting ‘save picture.’

The annual cycle starts in August – we assumed that you will all be lucky enough to have early foals, and that all your mares go into foal again with no trouble!  So, you can see that August foals start their first vaccinations at about 3 months of age, in November, and they are given Equivac® 2 in 1 and Equivac® S to protect them against tetanus and strangles and also Duvaxyn® EHV to help protect them from Equine Herpes Virus (EHV).  For foals that are born later, you would also start them at 3 months of age, for example October foals would start in January.

Our August foals get weaned at the end of the year – so you can see in the calendar that we jump down a line into the weanling row, and we commence their initial vaccinations for Salmonella and for Hendra virus, and we also bring them into the annual cycle of strategic worming, with a faecal egg count in March.

The weaners / yearlings get 6-month boosters for strangles, salmonella, herpes viruses and Hendra virus throughout winter and then as it warms up they come in for sales prep.  You would know that often when you bring the yearlings in, you end up with a barn of snotty horses – this may be due to EHV, which causes respiratory illness in young horses and often occurs in stressful situations (sales prep, training etc) so we recommend that all yearlings have an EHV booster just prior to, or as they start prep, to minimise this risk.

Pregnant mares are vaccinated according to their gestational stage.  The planner assumes that the mare foaled in August, and became pregnant again in September / October.

The aim of vaccinating mares is to minimise the risk of abortion, and also to ensure that they have a high level of protection to pass onto their foals via the colostrum.  Mare vaccinations start in month 5 of gestation, with the first of 3 doses of EHV to prevent abortion.  We also encourage farms to vaccinate for hendra virus around this time, as it provides optimal protection over the winter, and also ensures your mares are ready to walk onto farms with any vaccination requirements fulfilled when the time comes.  It is also a great idea to give the 6-month strangles booster early in the year, as you should give a 2 in 1 booster to protect against both tetanus and strangles just prior to foaling. As strangles requires 6-monthly boosters,  a dose is due in about January.  Mares are also vaccinated for rotavirus and salmonella to protect their foals from the serious diarrhoeal diseases that these infections can cause.

Over the coming months, I will give you more detail on the diseases that I have mentioned and how you can minimize your risk and protect your investment via practicing good prevention and biosecurity on your farms.