Protecting Your Horses from West Nile Virus

Not only does the West Nile virus infect birds and humans, it can also make horses really sick. Symptoms of West Nile virus among horses include rear limb buckling, knuckling over, and ataxia. As of this posting, 33 states had reported 186 equine cases of West Nile this year.

Mortality rate among horses with this disease is about 33%, or those who have weak immune systems rarely recover. Fortunately, there are ways to help reduce the risk of our horses from being exposed to the virus.

The most important tool for your horse is vaccination. While no veterinary-recommended vaccine is 100% effective, the vaccine for West Nile has a high rate of effectivity while having few side effects.

Another safe method is the reduce mosquito habitat on ranches and farms. Mosquitoes breed in mud and stagnant water, which is present in many farms. Here are ways to manage potential mosquito breeding grounds in horse properties:

* Pick up manure in paddocks and sacrifice area every one to three days. Getting rid of horse stool greatly decreases the build-up of mud.
* Pick up leftover hay, as any organic material would decompose and mix with mud.
* Install gutters and downspouts on all buildings, which divert rainwater away from confinement areas.
* Cover muddied areas with chipped wood, gravel, or sand. Make sure to put a thick layer–about three to six inches–of any of these footing throughout your paddock.
* Cover manure pile with tarp.

You can find many more life-saving tips on the source link!

Source: The Horse

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