Media Contact: Steve Lyle, Director of Public Affairs, (916) 654-0462
Horse owners urged to pursue vaccinations
SACRAMENTO, August 8, 2007 -- The return of West Nile virus to California this year is renewing calls for horse owners to make sure their animals are vaccinated. So far in 2007, five horses have been diagnosed with the disease – all have been either unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated.
“Outbreaks of West Nile virus are still a risk for horses,” said California State Veterinarian Dr. Richard Breitmeyer. “Horse owners should contact their veterinarians as soon as possible to ensure vaccination status is current. If people get the necessary shots for their horses now, the animals will have optimal protection against the disease.”
Signs of West Nile virus include stumbling, staggering, wobbling, weakness, muscle twitching and inability to stand. Horses contract the disease from carrier mosquitoes and are not contagious to other horses or people. Not every horse exposed to the virus will die.
CDFA is collaborating with state, federal and local agencies to detect and respond to the disease in California. For more information, click on www.cdfa.ca.gov. Questions may be e-mailed to CDFA at WNVirus@cdfa.ca.gov