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Vaccinate horses against diseases

Monday, June 17, 2013 - Updated: 2:13 PM

ALBANY--State Agriculture Commissioner Darrel J. Aubertine, Health Commissioner Nirav R. Shah and Gaming Commission Acting Director Robert Williams urge horse owners across New York state to vaccinate their horses against Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile Virus (WNV). In 2012, two cases of EEE were reported in horses in New York state, as well as seven WNV cases. No confirmed cases of either disease have been reported thus far in 2013.

“Every year in New York, cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile Virus pop up in horses across the state – diseases which are largely preventable,” said Aubertine. “Good prevention programs are a key component to any animal health plan and I encourage horse owners across New York to take the necessary precautions and vaccinate their horses against these diseases today.”

While it is preferable to vaccinate horses against these diseases in the spring before the mosquitoes that transmit them are active, early summer is not too late, since New York often has mosquito activity into November. Vaccines for EEE and WNV can be effective for six to 12 months, and horses should be re-vaccinated at least annually. In an area where the diseases occur year-round, many veterinarians recommend vaccinations every six months. For the vaccine to be effective, it must be handled and administered properly, prior to an anticipated increase in mosquito activity in a local area. For these reasons, state veterinarian David Smith recommends veterinarians administer the vaccines.

Other prevention methods include eliminating standing water breeding sites for mosquitoes, using insect repellents and removing animals from mosquito-infested areas during peak biting times, usually from dusk to dawn. In addition, water in water troughs should be changed at least twice a week to discourage mosquito breeding.


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