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Horse owners encouraged to vaccinate against West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Summer is just around the corner, and state officials are encouraging horse owners to take steps now to protect their animals.

Animal Industry Services of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry is encouraging horse owners to take precautions and vaccinate their animals against West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis.

In addition, ODAFF recommends vaccinating horses against Tetanus, Equine Herpes Virus, Equine Influenza, and Rabies.

Officials say Oklahoma averages approximately 40 cases per year of mosquito-carried diseases in horses.

“Signs of West Nile Virus include weakness, fever, incoordination, seizures, blindness and difficulty getting up,” said Assistant State Veterinarian Michael Herrin, D.V.M. “There are several vaccines available, and we are encouraging horse owners to visit their veterinarians and determine the vaccination protocol that will best fit their operations.”

Oklahomans are encouraged to reduce the risk of EEE and WNV by eliminating standing water, which serves as a breeding ground for mosquitoes.  Horse owners should not let water stand in birdbaths or water tanks, and keep unused equipment that can collect water.

When possible, owners should reduce horses’ outdoor exposure at dawn and dusk.

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