In 2016, 377 cases of equine West Nile virus (WNV) were reported in 32 different states.1 And, the Equine Disease Communications Center is reporting WNV cases earlier this year than previous years. However, it’s not too late to vaccinate and protect your horse.
“Every horse is at risk for West Nile virus,” says Dr. John Tuttle, DVM, director of equine professional services, Boehringer Ingelheim. “The best prevention strategy for WNV is to minimize mosquitos and keep your horses up-to-date on their vaccinations.”
WNV is transmitted to horses through infected mosquitos and other biting insects. Mosquitos carry the pathogen from infected birds and pass it to horses when they bite. Once infected, horses can show signs of depression, anorexia, lack of appetite, lethargy, and sudden progression of neurological diseases. Some cases have led to death. There is currently no cure for the disease, so preventive measures are highly recommended.
The American Association of Equine Practitioners recognizes the WNV vaccine as one of five core vaccines and recommends horses receive at least one dose annually. Horse owners are encouraged to consider more frequent boosters (twice yearly) in areas with year-round mosquito seasons and in endemic areas.
The optimal time to vaccinate horses for WNV is prior to mosquito season in the area, as it prepares horses for the peak transmission period, typically during late summer. However, horses can still benefit from a WNV vaccine at any time. Several options are available to meet the needs of your horse.
“As the number of West Nile Virus cases being reported are increasing, it’s important to contact and work with your veterinarian to determine the best WNV prevention strategy for your horse.”
Dr. Tuttle also recommends using tools like www.equinediseasecc.org, or www.outbreak-alert.com, to track infectious disease outbreaks. It is important to know the disease risks in your area. For more information on vaccine options, talk to your local veterinarian, or visit www.vetera-vaccines.com.
1. USDA 2016 Summary of West Nile Virus Equine Cases in the United States
About Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health
As the second largest animal health business in the world, Boehringer Ingelheim is committed to improving animal health. With more than 10,000 employees worldwide, Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health has products available in more than 150 markets and a global presence in 99 countries. For more information about Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health, click here.
Innovative medicines for people and animals have for more than 130 years been what the research-driven pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim stands for. Boehringer Ingelheim is one of the industry’s top 20 pharmaceutical companies and to this day remains family-owned. Day by day, some 50,000 employees create value through innovation for the three business areas human pharmaceuticals, animal health and biopharmaceutical contract manufacturing. In 2016, Boehringer Ingelheim achieved net sales of around 15.9 billion euros. With more than three billion euros, R&D expenditure corresponds to 19.6 per cent of net sales. Social responsibility comes naturally to Boehringer Ingelheim. That is why the company is involved in social projects, such as the “Making More Health” initiative. Boehringer Ingelheim also actively promotes workforce diversity and benefits from its employees’ different experiences and skills. Furthermore, the focus is on environmental protection and sustainability in everything the company does. More information about Boehringer Ingelheim can be found on www.boehringer-ingelheim.com or in our annual report: http://annualreport.boehringer-ingelheim.com.