An Iowa-based company will have a vaccine to protect horses against West Nile virus by the end of the year. Rob Daily is director of the Equine Business Unit at Fort Dodge Animal Health, where he says work began on the vaccine in 1999, the year West Nile first appeared in this country. He says the vaccine got conditional approval from the federal ag department in 2001 and the agency’s help has expedited the development of this product in a remarkably short time. Daily calls it “fortunate” that the USDA and Fort Dodge Animal Health got to work on a vaccine before this disease started its explosive spread across the country. He says the company’s a leader in this field, and sells vaccine already for influenza and several other kinds of encephalit1is. Daily says owners of plow, carriage, race or saddle horses in various parts of the state will have to make the decision whether to get the vaccine.He says a “performance horse” will have different exposures and stress levels than a backyard horse, so there’s no single recommendation for vaccination.
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