Horse Vaccinations for West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis Highly Recommended

Newsdate Mon 9 June 2014 – 7:23 am
Location: OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry is cautioning horse owners to vaccinate their animals against the potentially deadly West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis diseases. During the past two years approximately 40 cases of each disease have affected horses in the state.

Protecting horses against deadly diseases

Protecting horses against deadly diseases

The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry is cautioning horse owners to vaccinate their animals against the potentially deadly West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis diseases.

The diseases are often carried by birds and transferred to mosquitoes, which spread the viruses through bites to both horses and humans. While there are vaccines for horses there are, as yet, no vaccines for humans.

EEE virus attacks the central nervous system and unvaccinated horses are very susceptible to the infection. The disease appears within five days after a mosquito transmits the virus to the horse. Onset of clinical symptoms are abrupt and infected horses often die within three days.

The fatality rate is 90% or higher and an animal that survives the disease may have brain damage.

The case fatality rate for horses exhibiting clinical signs of West Nile virus infection is approximately 33%.  Data have supported that 40% of horses that survive the acute illness caused by WNV still exhibit residual effects, such as gait and behavioral abnormalities, 6-months post-diagnosis.

In horses that do become clinically ill, the virus infects the central nervous system and causes symptoms of encephalitis.

In all areas it is recommended that horse owners take steps to reduce the mosquito population by eliminating standing water where mosquitoes lay eggs such as in birdbaths, water tanks and wheelbarrows.

About the Author

Flossie Sellers

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As an animal lover since childhood, Flossie was delighted when Mark, the CEO and developer of EquiMed asked her to join his team of contributors.

She enrolled in My Horse University at Michigan State and completed a number of courses in everything related to horse health, nutrition, diseases and conditions, medications, hoof and dental care, barn safety, and first aid.

Staying up-to-date on the latest developments in horse care and equine health is now a habit, and she enjoys sharing a wealth of information with horse owners everywhere.

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