California’s horse owners are being urged to inoculate their horses now against the mosquito-borne West Nile virus to ensure optimal protection.
In 2011, 15 horses in California were confirmed positive for the virus. Four of the 15 were euthanized. None of the euthanized horses were vaccinated.
“Outbreaks of West Nile virus are still a risk for horses,” California State Veterinarian Dr Annette Whiteford said.
“If people get the necessary shots for their horses now, the animals will have optimal protection against the disease.”
Horse owners should contact their veterinarians as soon as possible to ensure their vaccination status is current, she said.
Signs of West Nile virus include stumbling, staggering, wobbling, weakness, muscle twitching and inability to stand.
Horses contract the disease from carrier mosquitoes and are not contagious to other horses or people.
Not every horse exposed to the virus will die, but, over the past eight years, affected horses have experienced a mortality rate of nearly 40 per cent.
More information on West Nile: http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/ahfss/Animal_Health/WNV_Info.html