West Nile Virus
As you know West Nile is here and may be here to stay. Thankfully, there are many things that you can do to help protect your horses.
West Nile encephalitis is an infection of the brain brought on by West Nile Virus.
The basic transmission cycle of the virus begins when mosquitoes feed on infected birds. The mosquitoes then transmit the virus to humans and animals while biting to consume blood. The virus is stored in the mosquito’s salivary glands. During the bite the virus can be injected into the human or animal, where it may multiply and cause illness.
Symptoms of West Nile virus
Equine symptoms include ataxia (uncoordinated movement), weakness of limbs, recumbency (leaning or laying down), muscle fasciculation (muscle twitches) and sometimes death. A fever has been detected in less than 25 percent of confirmed cases; therefore a fever is not necessarily a symptom of the disease. Birds that are infected may die and can then be tested for West Nile.
Many horses that do survive after being diagnosed with West Nile require nursing care around the clock. These horses will often not return to the same level of competition that they were at before contracting the disease.
Prevention of West Nile virus
Collected data indicates that the majority of horses recover from the virus with proper treatment. Taking precautions is imperative in order to reduce the risk of contracting West Nile virus. Some recommendations to reduce the risk of infection for your horses include:
For more information on West Nile virus visit http://www.westnile.ca.gov or http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/ahfss/ah/wnv_info.htmTo set up an appointment to vaccinate your horses for West Nile please call our office (619) 659-3532.