Following the discovery of West Nile virus in Yakima, Franklin and Umatilla counties recently, health officials are reminding horse owners to have their animal vaccinated against the disease. According to the Washington State Department of Agriculture’s Dr. Thomas Gillion, Washington is been tops in equine cases of West Nile over the past couple of years, with most of those cases reported east of the Cascades. He said the severity of West Nile really depends on the animal, and the symptoms vary. Some horses will get nothing more than a fever and be off their feed for a time, and eventually heal themselves. For others, West Nile becomes a neurological disease attacking the brain.
“Lip smack, they can grind their teeth they can be really respondent to external stimuli like height, noises, clapping might startle them really easily. But the big one that we normally see would be more of a paralysis in their rear legs and a recumbence and unable to rise.”
Gillion told the Washington Ag Network because of that, these horses will sit like a dog. He added it’s never too late to vaccinate a horse against West Nile, says while it’s ideal to start the regiment in the spring, horse owners can issue vaccinations now to keep their animal safe.
“There are four types of West Nile vaccines out there, and I feel that it should be a core vaccine in the vaccination protocol that theses horses get every year.”
Gillion added horse owners must remove standing water to limit the number of mosquitoes. He added July through October is when the region sees most of the West Nile cases.
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