West Nile Virus and Horses

West Nile Virus (WNV) is transmitted by mosquitoes and primarily affects birds, horses, and humans.? Mosquitoes appear to be the only carriers, and there is no evidence to suggest that horses or humans are directly contagious after contracting WNV.? The disease spreads when a mosquito becomes infected by ingesting the blood of an infected bird and then bites another animal.? WNV causes encephalitis, or swelling of the brain and spinal cord.? This typically results in neurological symptoms such as paralysis, lack of coordination, aimless wandering, circling, twitching of the face and muzzle, inability to swallow, and even coma.? Encephalitis can also be caused by other diseases than WNV, so your veterinarian will need to run tests to determine the cause of your horse?s symptoms.? Because there is no actual cure for WNV, it is vitally important that you take steps to protect your horse.? Speak with your vet about the best time of year to vaccinate, and be aware that your horse will likely need a second booster shot to keep the vaccine effective.? Reduce your horse?s contact with mosquitoes by implementing a good insect control program at your barn.? Eliminate stagnant, standing water sources where mosquitoes breed.? Old, discarded tires can be particularly conducive to mosquito breeding grounds.? Keep your horse indoors during periods of high mosquito activity, and keep lights off to avoid attraction to the barn.? Incandescent lights can be used around the perimeter of the property to lure the mosquitoes away from the horses.? You can also use topical mosquito repellent on your horse as a last line of defense.? Finally, if you find any dead birds on your property, particularly jays or crows, call your local health department and have them test the bird for evidence of WNV.

Loading...

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *