Discounted vaccinations are being offered to owners this month as part of the fight against equine disease.

More than 2,000 vet practices across the country are taking part in National Vaccination Month, which runs until Tuesday, 31 May, and is funded by pharmaceutical companies Intervet and Schering.

By downloading vouchers online and taking them to the nearest participating vet, owners can get reductions of around £30 on tetanus and influenza vaccines, although the discount does depend on the fees charged by the individual vet. To take part, equines must be more than 12 months old and either unvaccinated or at least three months overdue for a booster.

For each vaccination given, equine charity World Horse Welfare will receive a £1 donation.

Charity deputy chief executive Tony Tyler said: “It is important that horse owners take appropriate precautions to ensure their horses are protected against what can be life-threatening diseases.

“We ensure that all animals passing through World Horse Welfare’s gates are vaccinated as a matter of course and urge horse owners to do the same.”

The launch of National Vaccination Month comes on the back of a YouGov poll of over 2,000 pet keepers, including horse owners, which suggested that the cost of vaccinations is prompting many owners to overlook them. Almost 40% admitted not keeping their vaccinations up to date and it is feared there are more than 500,000 unvaccinated horses in the UK.

H&H veterinary consultant Karen Coumbe said: “Tetanus can be fatal and, in my view, all horses should be protected by vaccination against tetanus without question.

“Horses are unlikely to die of equine flu, but it remains a serious infection that can spread rapidly with devastating consequences. Vaccination reduces the risks enormously.”

To find your nearest participating vet and download the discount vouchers, visit www.nvmonline.co.uk.

This news story was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound (12 May, 2011)