A five-milligram mosquito can slay a 1,000-pound horse in a matter of days. All it needs is the right virus.
But with your help, the horse can survive the attack. All you need is the right vaccine at the right time. Now’s the time.
Clemson University’s director of field services for the Animal Health Programs branch Sean Eastman told South Carolina Radio Network that West Nile and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) can be fatal if transmitted to horses by mosquitoes.
“It’s about two or three days before they start showing clinical signs and then 12 to 24 hours most of the time those horses are recumbent and can’t recover.”
West Nile and EEE are often transmitted to horses by the black-tailed mosquito, Culiseta melanura, which spreads from Maine to Mexico. The program says only vaccination can prevent the disease from developing once a horse is bitten. The virus cannot be spread to humans from horses.
The branch is part of Livestock-Poultry Health, a regulatory arm of Clemson’s Public Service and Agriculture unit. It recommends at least annual vaccinations for both Eastern and Western Equine Encephalitis, West Nile Virus and rabies in consultation with the owner’s veterinarian. “It’s a matter who you listen to and what advice you take, at least once a year vaccinate those horses,” said Eastman.
A diagnosis or symptoms suggesting any of these diseases are required to be reported to the state veterinarian’s office within 48 hours.