West Nile And Horses: What You Should Know

west nile mosquito

The West Nile Virus is a disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on the blood from infected birds. These mosquitoes can then transmit the virus to humans and animals. The effects of the virus can range from mild fever, headache and muscle aches to much more serious neurological complications.

West Nile is monitored closely in Dallas County because of the health threat it poses to both humans and animals in our area. Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) confirmed the first positive West Nile Virus mosquito trap for 2016 in Dallas County.  As of May 25, 2016, there have been 2 confirmed cases of West Nile Virus in Dallas County. Click here to access Dallas County Health Department’s West Nile Watch.

For horse owners, it is important to be educated on the risks of West Nile to their animals. Vaccinations for West Nile have been developed in the horse industry but are controversial among experts. Therefore, prevention and awareness are the most important steps you can take to protect yourself and your animals from this disease.

Symptoms of infection:

  • Elevated temperature
  • Listlessness, apathy, drowsiness
  • Weakness, partial or full paralysis
  • Poor feeding, weight loss
  • Circling, aggressiveness, abnormal sensitivity to light

Treatment:

  • Drug, vitamin, and fluid therapies may help although there is no specific course of treatment. Veterinarian supervision is essential.

Prevention:

  • Remove or drain any areas containing standing water, where mosquitos breed.
  • Keep weeds mowed.
  • Change water in wading pools, pet dishes and birdbaths frequently.
  • Keep trough areas well drained.
  • Utilize chemicals such as methoprene, organophosphates or pyrethroids to control mosquito populations.

For the most part mosquitoes are simply an inconvenience. A few simple prevention steps will keep both you and your horses safe from West Nile. Keep in mind, the best approach is always prevention!

Pasturas Los Alazanes carries EquiNile West Nile Virus Vaccine for horses. We also carry Mosquito Dunks, Ultrashield and Centura to combat mosquitoes. Pick up these products at our store if you have concerns about West Nile in your barn!

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