Apr 20, 2017

Mosquitoes Abuzz - West Nile Virus May be in the Air

Photo Courtesy of Merck Animal Health.

Brought to you by Merck Animal Health, the Official Animal Heath Care Provider of the USEA. 

Flowers aren’t the only thing in bloom. With many parts of the country experiencing a mild winter, mosquito populations may be particularly abundant this spring. That means an increased risk of your horse contracting West Nile virus (WNV). Now is the time to think about prevention.

West Nile virus remains the leading cause of arbovirus encephalitis in horses and humans in the United States. Transmitted by mosquitoes that can infect horses and humans, WNV has been detected in horses in all 48 continental states, as well as most of Canada and Mexico.

Thanks to vaccination, the number of annual WNV cases in horses has declined significantly since the disease first appeared in the United States in 1999; however, the threat remains and we cannot become complacent with vaccination. In 2016, 377 equine cases of West Nile virus (WNV) were reported from 32 States – that’s 152 more cases than in 2015.[1] That means more than 300 horse owners had to watch their horse suffer through this unforgiving disease, with some losing the battle.

There are many reasons WNV is a core vaccine recommendation[2] for all horses:

  • WNV poses a significant threat to unvaccinated horses
  • Once a horse is infected and showing clinical signs, mortality rates can reach over 30 percent
  • There is no treatment for the virus itself, just support for the clinical signs
  • Of the horses that do survive, only about 60-80 percent experience a full recovery[3]
  • Annual vaccination, and minimizing your horse’s exposure to mosquitoes (eliminate standing water on property, use mosquito repellents, and stabling horses at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active) are the best methods of prevention
  • Horses residing in areas where disease is endemic are particularly susceptible and may require more frequent vaccination

Consult your veterinarian immediately if you see any of these signs in your horse:

  • Depression
  • Low-grade fever
  • Change in behavior
  • Muscle fasciculations (twitching)
  • Incoordination/ataxia
  • Cranial nerve deficits (such as head tilt, ear droop, difficulty swallowing)
  • Recumbency (inability to rise after laying down).

Ask any veterinarian and they’ll tell you there is nothing more heartbreaking than watching an animal suffer from a disease that could have been prevented through a simple vaccination. Don’t let your spring get interrupted by an infectious disease such as WNV. Talk to your veterinarian today. For more information, visit GetVaccinatingRight.com.

[1] USDA APHIS 2016 Summary of West Nile Virus Equine Cases in the United States. February 2017.

[2] AAEP Vaccination Guidelines (www.aaep.org.)

[3] Wilson JH, Davis A, Bender JB, Minicucci, LA. Residual Effects of West Nile Viral Encephalomyelitis in Horses. In: 49th Annual Convention of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, 2003, New Orleans, Louisiana, (Ed.)

May 29, 2020 Eventing News

FEI Publishes Return to Play Policy as Equestrian Adapts to “New Normal”

The FEI has published its Policy for Enhanced Competition Safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, aimed at assisting organizers and national federations with the safe resumption of international equestrian events in line with national and local restrictions.

May 29, 2020 AEC

USEA Approves New Qualification Period for 2020 AEC

The United States Eventing Association (USEA) has approved additional modifications to the qualification period for the 2020 USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Nutrena Feeds. The AEC is scheduled to take place August 25-30, 2020 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky, and the USEA is doing everything possible to ensure a safe and successful Championship, while also ensuring fair opportunities for all.

May 29, 2020 Eventing News

Event Cancellations and Responses to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

This article will be updated to include statements as they are released from upcoming USEA recognized events regarding actions they are taking due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).

May 28, 2020 Eventing News

The Event at Rebecca Farm Will Have a New Feel This Year

This has been a difficult decision, but with the current pandemic situation at hand, we feel that this is the correct and ‘common sense’ direction to take. We are developing a plan to host a shorter, smaller, and more focused competition. We will be using state and local protocols to help guide us through this. Safety is paramount at Rebecca Farm, for both equine and human participants.

Official Corporate Sponsors of the USEA

Official Outerwear of the USEA

Official Supplement Feeding System of the USEA

Official Forage of the USEA

Official Feed of the USEA

Official Saddle of the USEA

Official Joint Therapy Treatment of the USEA

Official Equine Insurance of the USEA