GLENN VAAGEN – WASHINGTON AG NETWORK – We may be month away from the intense heat of the summer, but the Washington state Department of Agriculture said the time of year to get your horses vaccinated against West Nile virus is now, before the season starts in earnest. Dr. Ben Smith, WSDA veterinarian, said there are two initial vaccinations to start, that are given about a month apart. He notes the vacations work really well in preventing the spread of West Nile. He said in addition to the vaccinations, it’s important to remove items that foster mosquitoes.
“Getting rid of standing water, old tires that have water in them, the breeding grounds for the mosquito, spraying your mosquitoes and flies, that helps keep them away. Putting sheets on your horses during the day, and putting them away at night. Anything you can do for parasite control.”
Dr. Smith notes the number of horses positive with West Nile has dropped over the past couple of years, from 33 in 2016 to nine in 2017 to just two last year. However, he said that may have more to do with the weather and environment then owners vaccinating their horses. He noted to talk with your veterinarian, to ensure all of your horses are up to date on their needed vaccinations.