With warmer spring temperatures, mosquitoes are out. Horse owners are urged to vaccinate their horses against West Nile Virus (WNV) now.
With warmer spring temperatures, mosquitoes are out. Horse owners are urged to vaccinate their horses against West Nile Virus (WNV) now. WNV is a significant health threat to local horses and proper vaccination is the best defense according to Butte County Public Health Department. In 2012, 22 horses in California were confirmed positive for WNV, and 8 (36%) of them were either euthanized or died. Most of the horses that contracted WNV were unvaccinated or improperly vaccinated. Several safe and effective WNV vaccines are available for horses. Horse owners should discuss vaccination options with their veterinarian to determine which is best and when a booster dose may be recommended. All previously vaccinated horses need to be revaccinated each spring, prior to mosquito season. WNV is here to stay in Butte County. Therefore horses will be at risk each year, particularly during summer months. The mosquito-borne disease causes inflammation or swelling of the brain and/or spinal chord. Symptoms of WNV infection in horses may mimic other neurological diseases such as rabies, equine herpes virus and other viral diseases. Free testing for horses suspected of having WNV is available through your veterinarian. Consult a veterinarian and consider testing for WNV if a horse exhibits any of the following signs: • Stumbling or lack of coordination; especially in rear limbs • Drooping lips, lip smacking and grinding teeth • Generalized weakness • Muscle twitching and tremors • Head drooping, lethargy and unresponsiveness • Hypersensitivity to touch or sound • Fever • Difficulty rising or inability to rise • Convulsions or coma Other control measures recommended for decreasing the risk of WNV infection include: Reduce Mosquito Numbers • Eliminate stagnant or standing water by draining ponds, avoiding water overflow from troughs, and reducing run-off and pooling of irrigation water; • Eliminate accumulated water in flower pot saucers, buckets, wheelbarrows, and remove old tires and other areas in which water can collect; PUBLIC HEALTH URGES OWNERS TO VACCINATE HORSES AGAINST WNV NOW -2 • Stock ponds, troughs, fountains and other areas of standing water with mosquito fish or add mosquito dunks to kill mosquito larvae; Mosquito fish are available at no cost through many local feed stores and through Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control (see below for contact information). • Eliminate piles of decaying organic matter such as leaves, lawn clippings and manure; • Cooperate with local Mosquito Control Districts as they institute fogging and other mosquito control measures; and • Report dead birds by calling the WNV phone line at 1-877-968-BIRD (2473) or online at www.westnile.ca.gov. Reduce Exposure of Horses to Infected Mosquitoes • Keep horses in a barn during peak mosquito feeding hours (dusk to dawn) • Use fans to keep air moving in barns • Apply mosquito repellents with permethrin, particularly in the evening. For more information on West Nile Virus: Butte County Public Health: General information about WNV human infection, educational materials and links to other resources: http://www.buttecounty.net/publichealth/cder/wnv.html Local Mosquito and Vector Control Districts: For information about pesticide spraying/fogging and mosquito activity surveillance efforts in your area contact: Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control District Phone: (530) 533-6038 http://www.bcmvcd.com/ Oroville Mosquito Abatement District Phone: (530) 534-8383 Durham Mosquito Abatement District Phone: (530)345-2875 California Department of Public Health General information about WNV and human infection, educational materials, surveillance efforts in California, and to report a dead bird: (877) WNV-BIRD OR the following web site http://www.westnile.ca.gov/ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) General information about WNV (in English and other languages), map of WNV activity in the United States, insect repellant information: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm