The state veterinarian says it’s time for horse owners to vaccinate their animals for the West Nile Virus. Doctor John Schiltz says it’s something that has to be done every year. He says we need to do it before the mosquitoes start invading the state. He says it’s the time of year when horse owners are dusting off the saddles and hitting the trails and it’s a bit of preventative maintenance. Schiltz says failing to get your horse vaccinated can end up being deadly for the animal. He says the horses are the only animals with an approved vaccine. He says for some reason the disease is fatal about one third of the time when horses get infected. Schiltz says good public awareness has led to a drop in horse deaths from West Nile. He says we’ve gone from 11-hundred cases in 2002 to 100 in 2003 and around 20 in 2004. He says he doesn’t want to see that number bump up again. Schiltz says you can also help by taking measures to prevent the spread of mosquitoes. He says you should be concerned about standing water and eliminating sources for mosquitoes. He says you should also keep your horse inside in the dusk hours and other times when mosquitoes might be problematic.
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