Horse owners encouraged to vaccinate against West Nile Virus

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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.

Officials with 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.

West Nile Virus is a disease that is spread by mosquitoes, and is most commonly contracted by humans and horses. Infected horses can become anorexic, depressed and show neurologic signs or behavior changes, but most horses are asymptomatic.

Officials say the incubation period in horses is between three and 15 days.

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 change the horse’s drinking water regularly, mow tall grass, drain stagnant water, maintain screens, install fans at horse stable, and use insect repellants on both horses and people.

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

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

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