West Nile vaccinations help horses

Jobs Peak rises above the horses in the pasture below Van Sickle Station.

Jobs Peak rises above the horses in the pasture below Van Sickle Station.
Photo by Kurt Hildebrand.

The Nevada Department of Agriculture reminds horse owners in Nevada of the importance of vaccinating against west Nile virus.

This mosquito-borne disease can cause serious illness targeting a horse’s brain, spinal cord, and nervous system. The disease can also be transmitted to humans from infected mosquitos.

The state monitors the virus and other diseases carried by mosquitos throughout the state to ensure the protection of public health and the agriculture industry.

“The NDA tests sample pools of mosquitos throughout Nevada to monitor for diseases like WNV,” said Animal Disease Laboratory Supervisor Laura Morrow. “The Animal Disease Laboratory surveys and tests for these diseases and reports the results to local health departments and vector control agencies.”

Taking precautions such as using insect repellents, eliminating mosquito-breeding sites including standing water, and keeping horses vaccinated against WNV and Equine Encephalitis is strongly encouraged for all horse owners.

State Veterinarian J.J Goicoechea encouraged horse owners to work with their veterinarian to develop effective management plan, which should include vaccination of animals. Timely vaccination and decreasing possible exposure to mosquitos is an effective way to prevent mosquito-borne diseases.

“Eliminating unnecessary standing water around barns and residences along with the use of deterrents can help keep mosquitos away from people and animals,” Goicoechea said.

West Nile and equine encephalitis have been detected in Nevada and can cause significant illness and death in both horses and humans. Both are reportable diseases in Nevada meaning that detections must be reported to the state.


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