Dr. Chris Blevins West Nile

(Chris) Hello and welcome to Horsin’ Around. I’m Dr. Chris Blevins here at Kansas State University, Veterinary Health Center. And today we’re gonna talk about West Nile, and West Nile Virus. In that of during summer and fall time frames, we always have that of a concern here in the United States. Affect multiple species, mainly it’s going to be found in birds and mosquitos but horses and people can get West Nile at any time during the mosquito season, again during the summer and fall. So, what would be that of concern of the horse when we’re talking about that of West Nile and what would the signs be would be of questions a lot of horse owners need to pay attention to, especially during the summer and fall time frame. So, with that of the horse and where they get the West Nile disease is going to be through mosquitos. They do not get it from the birds. And horses can’t give West Nile to people. And people cannot give West Nile to horses. So that’s always something else to remember that horses and humans are both dead end hosts when it comes to the West Nile virus. Now, West Nile and what it affects to the horse and to people is neurologic signs. And so what would you see if a horse would have West Nile or suspect to have West Nile would be either a change in behavior maybe they’re depressed, maybe they’re bumping into things, stumbling, not wanting to eat. Some can even be mistaken as being a colicky type of situations. A lot of them will have fevers and so if you take the temperature of your horse, that might be another indicator especially if they’re neurologic, acting a little bit different. They can even do head pressing and sometimes if you look at the horse straight on, they can have facial asymmetry or laxity, almost like the horse had a stroke on one side of its face. And so that might be something else you may see with West Nile Virus if it affects the horse at any time. Same with that of people, if they would have any of those fluctuations, feeling dizzy, those kind of things. Again, with any of those signs that you would see with your horse or I guess even as you as a person you would consult with your physician And vice versa for that of the horse- consult your veterinarian and figure out what is kind of going on. And what can we do to try to prevent West Nile in the horse? Obviously keeping mosquitos off of the horse would be the ideal situation and keeping horses away from mosquito type of populations. So, away from stagnant water, ponds, pools, even the horse tanks, water tanks would be another thing to make sure that you do especially during the summer and fall, keeping them dumped out, rinsing out because mosquito larvae will live in the horse water tanks. And so again, trying to minimize the amount of mosquitos around the area. They have to populate through some kind of a water situation, so minimizing that is going to be important in decreasing the number of mosquitos that might be in the area. In addition, we talk about vaccines in horses. We can vaccinate horses for West Nile Virus. We usually do that prior to the mosquito season. So, in most times here, especially around the Kansas or midwest is vaccinating them in the spring with the rest of the vaccines in March and April. And then if the mosquito season will be fairly long, depending on the product you can do a fall vaccine too. However in the midwest, most of the time we’re just doing a spring shot only for West Nile. And in addition to any of thosewould be just to discuss with your veterinarian and try to determine when and what to vaccinate your horse for. West Nile Virus vaccine is something we consider a core vaccine that every horse in the United States should get, at least once a year, sometimes twice a year. There are killed products and there are modified live products as far as vaccines for West Nile in the horse. So, again talking to your veterinarian to determine which one of those would be the best for your horse is something to always keep in mind too. Whenever we take and look at those and reaction to those vaccines is going to be similar to other horses in the injection sites that you would have and you would consult with your veterinarian of that too. And that’s why again another importance of having your veterinarian involved with those vaccines and the West Nile vaccine of your horse. I think that the best thing to remember anytime you’re having to deal with any disease, neurologic disease of your horse or any other concerns, always talk to your veterinarian. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact them. You can also contact us here at Kansas State University, Veterinary Health Center if you have any of those questions. I’m Dr. Chris Blevins at Kansas State Vet School and we’ll see you around.

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