Author Topic: Horse warning in Indiana  (Read 3505 times)


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Horse warning in Indiana
« on: October 03, 2008, 01:58:57 PM »
Got this today and thought I'd post it.

• Two Deadly Equine Diseases Identified in Indiana— Two fatal diseases of horses have been identified
in eight Indiana counties. Routine sampling of mosquito colonies in pooled water has found one positive location for Eastern
Equine encephalitis (EEE) and 12 others for the West Nile virus (WNV). While no horses have tested positive for either disease
so far this year in Indiana, equine owners are reminded to take precautions now to avoid possible infection of animals. The end
of summer and early fall is when most cases of EEE and WNV in horses are diagnosed, notes Dr. Tim Bartlett, Equine Director
for the Indiana State Baord of Animal Health (BOAH). “Late-season weather conditions, which tend to be hot and dry, support a
lot of mosquito activity. That is why horse owners need to be pro-active now about eliminating breeding sites, “he says. Sources
of standing, stagnant water should be drained. Even very small pools, such as those in old tires or buckets, can harbor mosquitoes.
Stock tanks should be kept fresh, but emptying in “swampy” areas around the tank should be avoided. Those small,
marshy puddles make ideal breeding sites. For further prevention, horses should be sheltered during high-activity flight times
near dusk. Measures should be maintained until temperatures fall below freezing for some time. Vaccination is, by far, the most
important means of prevention. For horses currently unvaccinated, a vaccine given now may be too late to offer protection this
season; an animal’s immune system will build gradually after two doses, administrate red three weeks to six weeks apart. “But
vaccinating now is certainly better than not at all-plus it gives the horses a jump-start for protection next year,” added Dr. Bartlett.
“EEE and West Nile should be part of a horse’s annual health regimen.” With official reports of 132 pools of water containing
West Nile virus-infected mosquitoes in 29 counties and a single pool in LaGrange County with EEE, Dr. Bartlett anticipates
test-positive animals before year-end. Often called “sleeping sickness,” EEE is a mosquito-bome arbovirus that causes central
nervous system problems in horses that cannot be cured. Infected horses may exhibit a variety of signs, such as seizures, or a
fever. Owners should consult a veterinarian as quickly as possible to see supportive care for their animals. West Nile virus is a
mosquito-borne virus that causes encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain. An infected horses will show clinical signs typical of
encephalitis: listlessness, stumbling and incoordination, weakness of limbs, ataxia, partial paralysis or death. While no cure exists
for West Nile, horses diagnosed and treated early are more likely to survive infection. For both diseases, horses are deadend
hosts and cannot spread the virus directly to humans (who are also susceptible); mosquitoes must feed from infected birds
to spread the viruses.

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