West Nile in Horses

By: Susan Bahorich
By: Susan Bahorich

Keezlenutten Farm is a little bit of heaven, nestled in the heart of Rockingham County, this farm is home to 30-horses. but, it's also home to fear.

"It's scary, it's scares me. You don't want sick horses, you don't want sick people and you'd kind of like it to go away."

Margaret Geisert is talking about the West Nile virus. The mosquito-borne illness is nothing new, commonly found in birds, it's been discovered in horses.

"We use the fly spray, of course, that's limited effectiveness I think we try to eliminate standing water, clean water tubs frequently, what else can you do," explains Geisert, owner of Keezlenutten.

There is another line of defense for these "sturdy steeds" a vaccine available through vets.

"We're still in discussion about vaccine, it's quite costly and with approximately 30-head here, 10 being leased and boarded here- some are already vaccinated, but that's a personal preference," says Veterinarian Technician Corena Knicely.

West Nile in horses has similar symptoms of that in human: fever, loss of appetite, and muscle aches that's just to name a few.

"Eventually we hope to vaccinate herd, but it's cost prohibitative right now. The effectiveness of vaccine is still kind of being decided," says Knicely.

So, for now these ladies will hope for the best and continue to be a proactive as possible.

The vaccine costs about $18 a pop and must be re-administered a month after the initial shot.


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