July 21, 2015
Learn how you can help protect your horses.
In the United States, July through October coincides with peak mosquito activity, which places your horse at the highest risk of contracting West Nile virus (WNV) during this time of year.1 However, with the right vaccine and preventive measures, it’s not too late for horse owners to help protect their horses against this life-threatening disease.
West Nile virus is transmitted by mosquitoes, which feed on infected birds and then infect horses, humans and other mammals. In 2014, the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 19,623 West Nile virus cases; case numbers include mosquitoes, birds, humans and horses.2 California topped the charts with 7,008 cases, followed by Texas with 2,484 cases. 2
“It is a good sign that the overall number of cases has declined over the last decade. However, there continue to be an alarming number of human and equine cases every year, especially in the late summer and fall,” says Dr. Kevin G. Hankins, senior veterinarian, Equine Veterinary Operations, Zoetis.
Researchers recently tested horses’ response to six West Nile virus vaccination regimens and found some substantial differences in their immune responses.3 While all of the vaccinated horses demonstrated an initial immune response, by Day 28, the response of the horses vaccinated with WEST NILE-INNOVATOR® was four times higher than those vaccinated with the one-dose, big combination WNV-containing vaccines.
Learn more about West Nile virus and other common horse health concerns with AQHA’s Common Horse Health Issues report.
“We thought that WEST NILE-INNOVATOR would produce a higher immune response than the large one-dose combination West Nile vaccines but did not think it would be nearly four times higher,” Dr. Hankins says. Read the rest of this entry »