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Vet J. 2012 Feb;191(2):199-202. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2011.01.019. Epub 2011 Mar 2.

Vaccination elicits a prominent acute phase response in horses.

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Department of Large Animal Sciences, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Taastrup, Denmark.


European and American guidelines for vaccination against tetanus and influenza in horses recommend annual and annual/semi-annual vaccinations, respectively, against the two pathogens. Too-frequent vaccination may, however, have adverse effects, among other things because an inflammatory response is elicited with subsequent alterations in homeostasis. The objective of the study was to compare the acute phase response (APR) in 10 horses following administration of two different types of vaccines, namely, an inactivated Immune Stimulating COMplex (ISCOM) vaccine and a live recombinant vector vaccine. Blood was sampled before and after vaccination to measure levels of serum amyloid A (SAA), fibrinogen, white blood cell counts (WBC) and iron. Vaccination induced a prominent APR with increased WBC, elevated blood levels of SAA and fibrinogen, and decreased serum iron concentrations. The ISCOM vaccine caused significantly (P<0.05) greater SAA, fibrinogen and WBC responses than the vector vaccine. During the APR muscle catabolism and liver and kidney metabolism are altered. Also drug metabolism may change during the APR. The findings of the present study may be relevant for advising horse owners about convalescence after vaccination.

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