Protecting Horses from West Nile

With West Nile making an early appearance in mosquitoes this year, and for the first time for several years, veterinarians are reminding horse owners of the importance of keeping up with their vaccinations and starting them early enough before the threat arrives.

"As far as mosquitoes go of course we have no protection against mosquito bites and what that little critter might be caring," said Dr. Don Morris of Fellhauer and Morris Veterinary Clinic.

And not only do horses have little protection from mosquitoes but they also are found in areas with the most mosquitoes.

"Of course horses are going to graze whatever is available and you have more mosquitoes in tall grass and that's what they like to eat," he said.

But Morris said it's tough when it comes to protecting horses against West Nile.

Mary Pearce the Executive Director of Whispers of Hope which gives children a chance for therapeutic healing by being with the horses has 20 horses she has to protect.

And though there is not a lot they can do to keep horses away from mosquitoes, she's still been able to find a way to stay proactive.

"We try to keep from having standing water so we don't have mosquitoes around," she said.

By raking the water used to wash their horses into their dry soil it dries quicker and doesn't draw mosquitoes that could be carrying the virus.

They clean stalls daily and spray repellent on the horses two sometimes three times a day to keep flies and other bugs away.

Morris says the one thing the doctor can help with is a vaccine.

"A core vaccination include things that are transmitted by mosquito," Morris said.

The shot should be given annually, Morris recommends horses to get the shot in May before West Nile arrives.

And though West Nile is back in Texoma, Pearce doesn't seem to concerned.

"So far we have not seen any mosquito issues going," she said.

Pearce also said she is grateful for the city sprays for mosquitoes.

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