fall approaches, horse owners might be tempted to believe the threat of West
Nile Virus is waning. However, cases of West Nile Virus in horses continue to be
reported throughout the state of Wyoming. At least 15 have been diagnosed this
season by the Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory, according to Wyoming State
Veterinarian Jim Logan.
vector season for West Nile Virus can last until a hard frost kills or
inactivates the vectors," warns Logan. Which is why the Wyoming Livestock
Board veterinary staff recommends that owners go ahead and vaccinate their
horses if they have not done so already.
are far more affected by the West Nile Virus than other livestock and domestic
animals. Signs of West Nile include initial flulike symptoms, where the horse
becomes lethargic and depressed, followed by weakness, incoordination and
seizures. Of those that become ill, about 30 percent die or need to be
euthanized, according to Wyoming Livestock Board staff veterinarians.
mosquitoes are the main source of transmission for the West Nile Virus,
controlling mosquito populations and preventing horses from being exposed to
them can help. However, the West Nile Virus vaccine is still the best method of
prevention, providing over 90 percent protection. While the Wyoming Livestock
Board veterinary staff recommends vaccinating all foals and horses against the
disease in the spring, prior to peak mosquito levels, owners who have not yet
vaccinated this year should still consider doing so, due to the rising number of
recently reported cases around the state.
not too late to have your horses vaccinated," said Logan.
further information, or to talk to a Wyoming state veterinarian, please call the
Wyoming Livestock Boards Cheyenne office at 307-777-7515 or the Riverton
Field Office at 307-857-4140.