An unfortunate annual event occurred last week – for the first time in 2012, a horse in California was found to have west Nile virus. The two-year old filly from Stanislaus County wasn’t vaccinated and had to be euthanized.
Each year, we find ourselves using this sad occasion to remind horse owners to have their animals vaccinated. It offers them maximum protection against the disease. And once vaccinations occur, horse owners should be checking regularly with their veterinarians to make sure they stay current.
Californians can also do their part to prevent the disease by managing mosquitoes, which carry west Nile virus. Please eliminate standing water and work to limit mosquito access to horses by stabling during active mosquito feeding times such as dusk to dawn, and by utilizing fly sheets, masks or permethrin-based mosquito repellents.
It’s important to remember that mosquitoes become infected with the virus when they feed on infected birds. Horses are a dead-end host and do not spread the virus to other horses or humans. For more information on west Nile virus, please visit CDFA’s web site.