Horse owners motivated to vaccinate against West Nile virus | Business-farm



The Animal Industry Services of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry are encouraging horse owners to take precautions and vaccinate their animals to protect them against the West Nile virus and eastern equine encephalitis.

In the past, Oklahoma averaged approximately 40 cases per year of positive diagnoses of mosquito-borne diseases in horses.

The bird population serves as a reservoir for viruses, and mosquitoes then transmit the virus to horses and humans. The mosquitoes most likely to transmit WNV and EEE lay their eggs in small puddles of standing water. Once adult mosquitoes hatch, they can become infected with both WNV and EES after feeding on an infected host, such as a bird carrying the virus. Within 10-14 days, the mosquito can transmit the virus to humans and horses.

"Signs of West Nile virus include weakness, fever, incoordination, seizures, blindness and difficulty getting up," said State Veterinarian Assistant Michael Herrin, DVM

Oklahoma residents can reduce the risk of both EEE as WNV by eliminating stagnant water that serves as a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Horse owners are encouraged not to allow water to pond in birdbaths or water tanks, and to keep unused equipment that can collect water, such as a wheelbarrow, from tipping over when not in use. The water troughs should be emptied and rinsed twice a week to eliminate possible mosquito eggs. When possible, owners should reduce outdoor exposure to horses at dawn and dusk, times of day when mosquitoes carrying the virus are most active.

In addition, ODAFF recommends vaccinating horses against tetanus, equine herpes virus, equine influenza and rabies.

Equine vaccines are available as individual or combination vaccines. Horse owners should always work with their veterinarian to determine what is the best product for their horses, according to the way the horse is used and housed. A common combination vaccine provides protection against West Nile virus, eastern and western equine encephalomyelitis, tetanus, influenza, and two strains of EHV. The rabies vaccine is typically an individual vaccine.

ODAFF recommends that horse owners and event managers maintain a higher level of awareness, implement biosecurity practices to minimize possible exposure, consult a veterinarian with an appropriate vaccination schedule and report any suspected disease or neurological disease. .

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