Ask A Veternarian

West Nile Questions Answered
by Christi Garfinkel DVM
1. I have a new horse with no vaccination history, how should I proceed?
If no history is known, it is safest to assume previous vaccinations have NOT been given and give the two shot series to establish protective titers. In some cases, a simple phone call to the previous owner to establish past vaccination history can be helpful in creating a vaccination protocol for your new horse.
2. Can pregnant mares be vaccinated?
Yes, there is NO scientific evidence that West Nile vaccinations cause abortions or deformities.
3. What age should I begin vaccinating foals?
The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) recommends that foals start the vaccination series for West Nile at 3-4 months.
4. Is West Nile infection treatable?
There are several treatments aimed at minimizing symptoms and arresting progression. At this time, there is no specific cure for the disease. While some horses make a complete recovery, others survivors may have long term deficits. Approximately 33% of horses that contract West Nile disease will die or be euthanized.
5. There is a horse in my barn diagnosed with West Nile, is my horse at greater risk?
West Nile virus is not transmitted from horse to horse. Horses are known as “dead-end hosts”. This means that horses do not create enough virus particles for mosquitoes to transmit West Nile virus from an infected horse to a healthy horse. However, the conditions in your area may be right for local birds to carry the disease. Your best protection is proper vaccinations and strict mosquito control measures.


A Veterinarian's Wish List
By Linda Byer DVM, MS

These are basic requirements for any domestic horse that is to be handled by your veterinarian, farrier or others. This is so that regular appointments and/or emergencies do not become troublesome or dangerous to the horse and people involved with any given situation regarding your horse.

Goals for training horses under 1 year of age:
Approach and halter quietly
Allow all areas of body to be handled, including
  Pick up all feet
  Stand quietly for cleaning, shoeing, trimming feet
  Clean/clip ears
  Open mouth and allow tongue to be held
  Allow muzzle to be flipped up and held
  Finger in nostril
  Allow eyelids to be opened
  Brush all areas of body
  Take rectal temperature
  Insert fingers in sheath, under tail, between hind legs
  Massage udder
Clip ears/legs
Tie and stand quietly
Drop head on command
Start, stop, walk, trot when lead from right and left sides
Turn either direction (toward or away from handler)
Allow to be blanketed
Enter trailer, either ramp or step-up
Stand to be bathed/hosed off
Walk over tarp, water, small cavaletti or equivalent
Drape rope and allow rope to be tangled around legs without being disturbed
Back up on command
Work in round pen: start, stop, turn towards handler
Stand quietly to be fly sprayed
Stand quietly for injections
Accept oral medications by dose syringe
Move away from finger pressure
Walk quietly through gates/doorways
For horses older than 1 year:
All of the above +
Cross tie
Work on Lunge line in open field
Allow legs to be wrapped
Allow mane to be pulled
All Equine Health Care - Linda Byer, DVM, MS
13925 Charlan Rd, Valley Center, CA 92082.






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