Infectious Diseases

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Infectious Diseases

This is a discussion on Infectious Diseases within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
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    11-01-2008, 10:52 PM
Infectious Diseases

I have been doing lots of research, and I have a few questions for you horse people.

What Infectious Diseases can horses get that effect humans? How many cases of what disease have been reported in Michigan or the whole United States? What does it do? Is it fatal? Are their vaccinations? How common would it be?

The horse I am getting will be a single horse with a goat as a pasture mate and it's "area" and utensils will be cleaned daily. I don't show, either. She will get all vaccinations.

I am also going to talk to the lady I will be getting my lessons from.

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    11-01-2008, 11:56 PM
What Infectious Diseases can horses get that effect humans? Eastern Equine Encephalytis, Western Equine Encephalytis, West Nile Virus, Rabies

For information on how common these are and their affects on humans, check out the Center for Disease Control website
Eastern Equine Encephalitis | CDC Arbovirus
CDC Fact Sheet: Western Equine Encephalitis - CDC Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases (DVBID)
CDC - Reported Arbovirus Cases in U.S. - CDC Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases (DVBID)
CDC: West Nile Virus - What You Need To Know
CDC: West Nile Virus - Statistics, Surveillance, and Control > Case Count 2008
General Questions & Answers About Rabies | CDC Rabies
Epidemiology | Rabies

For their affects on horses, EEE, WEE and WNV all are diseases that cause inflammation of brain and lead to neurological symptoms--weakness, lack of balance, lack of control of limbs, facial paralysis, etc. EEE has an 80% mortality rate. WEE has a 20%-50% mortality rate. WNV has a 20-40% mortality rate. All of these disease require a biting insect (typically a mosquito) to transmit them from one infected creature to another.

Rabies is also an encephalytic disease though it has a 100% mortality rate and can be directly transmitted from horses to humans.

There are vaccines against all of these viruses and they are considered "core vaccines"--meaning vaccines that all horses should get no matter how much or little contact they have with other horses because transmission is not via direct contact with other horses (or at least not ONLY through contact with other horses in the case of rabies).

The other "core vaccine" is tetanus. Tetanus cannot be transmitted from horse to human--it is a bacterial infection which is acquired via bacterial contamination of a wound.
    11-03-2008, 09:30 PM
Thanks for the information. Also, "coggins" (sp?) is another thing that I would need to vaccinate for, right? I am doing vaccines at home...Well, my neighbor said she'll do them for me because she's done it for over 30+years. In my state, it is legal to do all vaccines EXCEPT "coggins" (sp?)...You can do Rabies at home for horses only, in Michigan.
    11-03-2008, 10:42 PM
Coggins is not a vaccine but a test for Equine Infectious Anemia. This is a disease that devastated horse owners/breeders many years ago when it killed many many horses. As there is no vaccination for this disease, required testing has been implemented to help keep infected horses out of the general poplulation so that the infection cannot be spread. Your vet must see your horse and pull blood or Coggins tests because the paperwork and testing is actually a "legal" issue and as such your vet has to state that x blood sample came from x horse on x day and that the horse fits x description.

I would still discuss with your vet the recommendations for vaccination for your horse because there is no "one-size-fits-all" vaccination protocol with horses. There are core vaccines which all horses should get and there are vaccines that are given based upon risks in each situation. Plus the timing of certain vaccinations is important so that you have your highest level of immunity when risk of contracting that/those disease(s) is highest and because some of the vaccines should be boostered more than once a year in certain situation. While your neighbor may have been "doing it for 30 years" that doesn't mean that she is up-to-date on vaccination protocol recommendations because they have changed over the years and have in fact changed in the last couple of years. As well as the fact that the type of vaccine you use affects how often and when you should give them because they are not all the same.

Do you know if your horse has been vaccinated previously? What are you going to be using him for? How old is he? Where will he be kept---home, boarding facility? Will he be exposed to horses that get taken to competitions/trail rides/etc? What part of the country are you in? All of these questions affect the vaccination recommendations for YOUR horse.
    11-03-2008, 10:54 PM
She is 9 years old...She is UTD with all her vaccines. She will not be exposed to any other horses for now...Will be a pleasure-horse...No Showing. I'll talk to the vet. Thanks for the info! :)
    11-05-2008, 10:57 AM
Sounds like your horse is going to have the life ;)
With what you describe, the vet may recommend nothing more than the core vaccines EEE, WEE, WNV, Tetanus and Rabies. But depending on the geography where you are he may also recommend Potomac Horse Fever or some of the other risk-based vaccines especially if your neighbor has horses and she travels around with them.

Good luck with your mare. I hope you two have a great time together.

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