Monday, June 6, 2016

State’s animal health agency: Horse owners should vaccinate against West Nile virus

State’s animal health agency: Horse owners should vaccinate against West Nile virus (ALBUQUERQUE) – As mosquito season approaches, the New Mexico Livestock Board is encouraging horse owners across the state to vaccinate their horses against West Nile virus (WNV). “Horse owners are encouraged to contact their veterinarian about vaccinating their horse or horses,” said acting state veterinarian Dr. Alexandra Eckhoff. According to the American Association of Equine Practitioners, horses represent 96.9 percent of all reported non-human cases of West Nile virus in mammals. Symptoms include fever, lack of coordination, difficulty or inability to rise, drooping lips, weakness, muscle twitching, and sensitivity to sound and/or touch. Approximately one-third of horses affected can die from the virus, and those that survive may have permanent neurological damage. The virus is carried by many different mosquito species, which transmit it from infected birds to horses, humans, and other mammals. It is not transmissible from horse to horse or from horse to human. Both horses and humans are dead-end hosts for WNV, meaning they cannot pass the virus on to other biting mosquitoes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), WNV is not transmitted: • From person to person or from animal to person • From handling live or dead infected birds. (Wear gloves to dispose of dead birds in a garbage can.) • By consuming infected birds or animals. (Cook bird meat and any other meat fully.) For more information, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/westnile/transmission/index.html and http://www.aaep.org/custdocs/West%20Nile%20Virus.pdf. The New Mexico Livestock Board works to protect New Mexico livestock free of disease and safe from theft. To carry out this work, the agency’s 60 full-time inspectors and another 60 full- and part-time deputies continuously patrol and perform inspections around the state to help. The agency also houses the Office of the State Veterinarian, whose team collaborates with various government and private-sector partners to ensure that New Mexico remains free of animal disease.

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