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Protect horses against West Nile virus

This mosquito-borne disease can cause serious illness targeting a horse’s brain, spinal cord and nervous system.

Farm Press Staff

May 12, 2023

1 Min Read
Blood sample taken from horse
A blood sample is taken from a horse.USDA ARS

Agricultural officials in Nevada are urging horse owners to vaccinate their animals against West Nile virus, a mosquito-borne disease that can cause serious injury targeting a horse’s brain, spinal cord and nervous system.

The disease can also be transmitted to humans from infected mosquitos, warns the Nevada Department of Agriculture.

The NDA monitors WNV and other diseases carried by mosquitos throughout the state to ensure the protection of public health and the agriculture industry.

“The NDA tests sample pools of mosquitos throughout Nevada to monitor for diseases like WNV,” Laura Morrow, Animal Disease Laboratory Supervisor, said. “The Animal Disease Laboratory surveys and tests for these diseases and reports the results to local health departments and vector control agencies.”

Taking precautions such as using insect repellents, eliminating mosquito-breeding sites including standing water, and keeping horses vaccinated against WNV and Equine Encephalitis is strongly encouraged for all horse owners.

NDA Director J.J Goicoechea encourages horse owners to work with their veterinarian to develop effective management plan, which should include vaccination of animals. Timely vaccination and decreasing possible exposure to mosquitos is an effective way to prevent mosquito-borne diseases.

“Eliminating unnecessary standing water around barns and residences along with the use of deterrents can help keep mosquitos away from people and animals,” Goicoechea said.

WNV and Equine Encephalitis have been detected in Nevada, all of which can cause significant illness and death in both horses and humans. WNV and Equine Encephalitis are reportable diseases in Nevada meaning that detections must be reported to the NDA.

Source: Nevada Department of Agriculture

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