WEST NILE: Virus Threatens Horses

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All the rainy weather we've had this spring means more chance for standing water - which can be the perfect environment for mosquitoes.

Experts say increased mosquito population could mean an increased spread of diseases - specifically, West Nile virus. And horses could be a big target for infection this summer.

“West Nile virus is extremely important to vaccinate for because it is a disease that is mosquito transmitted and horses can become  ill and there are some of those individuals that certainly do die,” said Dr. David Schmitt, the state veterinarian.

He says it can often start with a fever, and develop into trembling muscles and sleepiness. Eventually it can lead to immobility, seizures, and then death.

But for someone like Linn Robins, with more than 30 horses it would be more than $3,000 for all the vaccines.

But she said even though it will be a struggle, especially since she is a non-profit organization, but she said it’s worth it.

“It’s very important to get the vaccinations, just like with our children because they are like our children kind of. You feel like they are your children. And the vaccinations are very important. Just like proper nutrition,” said Robins.

Last year there were 36 confirmed West Nile cases involving horses in Iowa. None of those animals were fully vaccinated against the disease.

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