The state veterinarian is advising horse owners in Iowa to get their animals vaccinated against the West Nile disease now, before the mosquito season heats up. State Veterinarian John Schiltz says the disease, which is transmitted via mosquitoes, hit Iowa horses hard in 2002.He says over 11-hundred horses contracted West Nile last year from mosquitoes, and nearly 30 percent of them died. Schiltz says you need to vaccinate your animal, even if it was vaccinated last year. Schiltz says the rapid spread of West Nile caught most people off guard a year ago. He says he was even surprised by the scope of the problem. A Fort Dodge company makes the only West Nile vaccine for horses.He says it’s effective and has been granted unconditional licensing. Schiltz says horses aren’t the only animals that get West Nile, but he says they’re hit the hardest.Schiltz says the vaccine should be readily available, and he recommends you vaccinate your horse as soon as possible.
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