Delaware & Maryland State Veterinarians Encourage Horses Stay Va - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Delaware & Maryland State Veterinarians Encourage Horses Stay Vaccinated

Posted: 08/17/2017 17:54:00 -04:00 Updated:
(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

SNOW HILL, Md. - Delaware and Maryland State Veterinarians are urging horse owners to ensure their horses are up to date on vaccines.

On Tuesday, Delaware confirmed the first case of West Nile Virus in a horse in the state since 2015.

The mare lost the ability to stand and was therefore euthanized on August 9. 

Samples submitted to the Delaware Public Health Laboratory on August 10 confirmed the diagnosis of WNV and found the affected horse was not currently vaccinated against WNV.

Catherine Casto, physician and owner of Castle Farm in Snow Hill, said the death highlights the dangers of not vaccinating.

"If you fail to vaccinate, your horse is susceptible to these diseases. The horses can become permanently or neurologically disabled or die," said Casto.

West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) are diseases transmitted to horses via the bites of mosquitoes. 

Horse owners who have vaccinated their horses against eastern equine encephalitis, western equine encephalitis, and Venezuelan equine encephalitis still need to get their horses vaccinated for West Nile, as these are different viruses and those vaccinations do not provide cross protection, according to the Maryland Department of Agriculture.

Symptoms of West Nile and EEE include fever, anorexia, depression/personality changes, wobbling and blindness among others. 

Horse owners are also encouraged to keep their horses inside during dawn and dusk to avoid mosquitoes. 

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