Can we talk about West Nile Virus? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 09-23-2013, 10:32 PM Thread Starter
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Can we talk about West Nile Virus?

A friend who lives about 5 miles away just had a horse diagnosed with West Nile virus. My horse is due for his yearly exam and shots next month but this has me really worried.

So what do I do? I Google! And while Googling I come across statements like this: "Vaccination of horses is not a guarantee of protection against infection, and does not offer any protection for other animals or people. "

So can a vaccinated horse still get the virus? The fly spray we use says it protects against 70 types of insects including mosquitoes and I have never seen mosquitoes around our horses. I guess I'm just nervous now.
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post #2 of 20 Old 09-23-2013, 10:35 PM
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Where do you live? They have diagnosed cases here in AZ now too .
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post #3 of 20 Old 09-23-2013, 10:41 PM Thread Starter
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I'm in Northern California, near Sacramento.
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post #4 of 20 Old 09-23-2013, 11:21 PM
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Several years ago we had a weanling die from a variant of West Nile, it was a type of encephalitis, even though she had her shot.

I still think getting the shot is worth it if there are cases in your area, we had three other fully grown horses who were not affected by what the baby had.

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post #5 of 20 Old 09-23-2013, 11:56 PM
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It is my understanding that the vaccine is not a guarantee against WN but it is supposed to help. But I could be wrong. Also I think some horses get WN and never show any symptoms, some get mildly sick, and some get very very ill.

Two summers ago there was several cases in our area and there was a few cases pretty close this summer as well but I don't know anyone personally. In our area WN strikes in May and October mostly.

This year pigeon fever is going around our area, I am worried about that - So I feel your concern about them catching something beyond our control.

IMO most horses are way over vaccinated so if your horse was done some time last year you should have nothing to worry about.
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post #6 of 20 Old 09-24-2013, 12:52 AM
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I live in Central California and it's a routine practice to vaccinate for West Nile every year in spring. Very few uninnoculated horses survive, and its presence is known in California. I believe that the first two years your horses is getting the vaccine it is done twice a year (once in spring and once in fall, to build up immunity) and then you continue with the vaccine once a year in spring.

I'd definitely talk to a vet, though, and ask their opinion. Fly spray is certainly no solid or measurable defense against West Nile, though.

Good luck! :)

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Silver light reflected off his brown hide as he held me in the dark
– I love you, Mudpie!
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post #7 of 20 Old 09-24-2013, 07:16 AM
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WN vaccine is only a few extra dollars when added to the normal 4 way or 5 way vaccines, according to most articles the Vaccine is 95% effective, better than 0% protection.

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post #8 of 20 Old 09-24-2013, 09:26 AM
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It's kind of like the flu shot - some people still get the flu but not as badly and some won't at all. It won't flat out guarantee horses won't get it but it gives them protection, and helps lessen its effects if they do. I get my horse vaccinated for it and will this fall as well just because the bugs seem to be lingering.
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post #9 of 20 Old 09-24-2013, 10:18 AM
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I have mixed feelings about the vaccine. I'm in central Cali also, we have sloughs and swamps a couple of miles away, we have skeeters. I spray my horses, morning and, if necessary, early evening, if my Skeeter indicator mare is in the run- in and won't come out for dinner. We've had cases in the county, but not here. Most cases are horses up to two years and not vaccinated. So I'm they develop immunity with age? Neighbor has horses out on 160 acres, bordering the sloughs.....sound as can be, never see a vet, don't get anything but what grows, which they share with about 30 cows.
I did hear about some nasty side effects of the vaccine in breeding stock, tho. Scary stuff.....
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post #10 of 20 Old 09-24-2013, 10:20 AM
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This happened to a friend of mine last year. She called their vet's office, he suggested going ahead and getting their horses their immunizations early, since they were close to being due anyway.
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