Prevent Equine Illness during Rainy Season

With heavy rains in spring and summer, the prevalence of waterborne illnesses in animal populations increases. More water means more standing water, which is an incubator for bacteria and parasites.

Make an appointment with the Equine Community Practice.

Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.: Call to schedule an appointment for your horse with the Large Animal Hospital at 765-494-8548.

After Hours Emergencies: The Equine Community Practice staff is also available 24-7 at 765-494-8548.

Potomic Horse Fever

With all the rain this spring and summer, Potomac Horse Fever is rearing its ugly head early. 

Watch for:

  • Fever, diarrhea
  • Anorexia (off feed)
  • Depression, lethargy
  • Mild colic signs

Regardless of vaccination status, PLEASE call ECP right away.  Early treatment with fluids and appropriate antimicrobials save lives and money!!  Although vaccination does reduce the overall severity and seems to prevent the subsequent laminitis, ALL horses can get this disease.

West Nile Virus, Eastern & Western Encephalitis

The mosquitos and biting flies are definitely out there this summer!  These insects not only create itchy bites, but also transmit West Nile and Eastern and Western Encephalitis Viruses. 

Watch for:

  • Depression, anorexia
  • Muscle twitching
  • Weakness, ataxia (wobbly)

Vaccination is very effective at preventing these diseases.  We will be recommending a fall West Nile vaccine booster this year, due to the increased risk from mosquito activity.

Anaplasmosis & Lyme Disease

Ticks are another nasty pest that are out in full force with this wet weather.  Ticks transmit both Anaplasmosis and Lyme disease to horses.

Watch for:

  • Fever, limb swelling
  • Small hemorrhages on the mouth, nose and eyes
  • Incoordination, muscle pain
  • Lameness, joint swelling

There are no vaccinations available for these diseases; however antimicrobials and supportive care are effective in treatment and recovery.
 The First Year: Preventative Medicine for Foals

Deworming:

Foals are extremely susceptible to intestinal parasites.  Threadworms (Strongyloides westerii) primarily affect young foals under the age of 3 months.  Roundworms or ascarids (Parascaris equorum) primarily affect foals between 6 months and 2 years of age.  Proper deworming during the first year of life can prevent diseases.

Age

Product

2 Months

Fenbendazole (Panacur)

4 Months

Fenbendazole (Panacur) or Pyrantel (Strongid)

6 Months

Fenbendazole (Panacur) or Pyrantel (Strongid)

8 Months *

Ivermectin

12 Months

Ivermectin with Praziquantal for Tapeworms

  • Submit fecal for egg count between 6-8 months, prior to Ivermectin

Vaccination:

Timing of vaccination for foals is dependent on transfer of the dam’s immunity (antibodies) in the first hours of birth, and how strong the materal immunity was.  Mares vaccinated within 30-45 days prior to foaling typically produce the strongest colostrum, and those foals are started on vaccines a little later to ensure they can build immunity.  Foals have no natural immunity, so vaccination is very important to protect them from diseases.

Vaccine

Age

Booster (1)

Booster (2)

Tetanus

4 – 6 months old

4 weeks later

1 year later

E/W Encephal omyelitis

4 – 6 months old

4 weeks later

1 year later

Rabies

6 months old

4 weeks later

1 year later

West Nile

4 – 6 months old

4 weeks later

1 year later

Influenza

6 months old

4 weeks later

1 year later

Rhinopnuemonitis

4 – 6 months old

4 weeks later

1 year later

Potomac Horse Fever

4 – 6 monts old

4 weeks later

1 year later

Foals born to vaccinated mares can start all vaccines at 6 months old.

Horse owners can decrease the likelihood that their horses will contract these diseases by making sure they have access to safe, clean drinking water, and by eliminating any source of standing water, such as puddles, containers with water, and fountains that are not in use.

More Equine Health Tips >>

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