July 27, 2012
Virginia agriculture officials say all horse owners should ask their veterinarians for guidance on vaccines for West Nile virus and Eastern equine encephalitis for their animals.
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said Thursday that it strongly suggests horses receive vaccinations for the diseases, despite last year's low occurrence of either disease. The activity of specific mosquitoes carrying the diseases isn't predictable, and it's better to ensure protection against the incurable diseases.
For the vaccine to be effective, it must be administered properly at least two weeks before the horse is exposed to the virus. Other prevention measures include eliminating standing water in which mosquitoes can breed, using insect repellents and removing horses from mosquito-infested areas during the period from dusk to dawn.