Keep your horse from going viral

By Connie Orcutt • Published: August 1st, 2012
Category: Animal Airwaves

Mosquitoes can deliver more than just bothersome bites to your horse. Both West Nile virus and eastern equine encephalitis are spread by these biting pests. In each case, a mosquito ingests virus from an infected bird and can pass it on when it bites your horse.

Signs of disease can include weakness, staggering, depression, twitching, blindness, paralysis and fever. Horses with West Nile virus may recover after extensive supportive care, but 90 percent of eastern equine encephalitis cases end in death.

Fortunately, vaccination against both viruses is highly effective. Timing is critical for adequate protection, and horses often need several vaccinations per year. Your veterinarian can plan a vaccination schedule for your horse. Good mosquito control can also help you keep your horse from going viral.