Apparently, this summer is going to be a banner year for West Nile Virus. Im not an insect person, so I have no idea how we have mosquitoes when we have had no rain in forever and surging temperatures every day (mosquitoes can lay eggs in dust and dried up grass?), but its shaping up to be a ‘bad’ year for West Nile.
‘Bad’ is relative, though. A ‘bad’ year for West Nile in humans isnt really that bad (compared to other things), so there is not much motivation to formulate a human West Nile vaccine.
Thats not true for horses, however.
Mosquito-born illnesses like West Nile and Eastern equine encephalitis virus have a 30-40% and 75-90% mortality rate, respectively, in horses. So, we have anti-West Nile and anti-EEE vaccines that provide protection for ~95% of horses, with two doses.
Of course, for the vaccines to work, you have to give them to your horses.
A horse from an area near Orland has been diagnosed with West Nile virus equine infection, the first case diagnosed in Glenn County in almost eight years, and is not likely to survive, county officials said. The animal had not been vaccinated against the virus, they said.
In a small percentage of cases, WNV overwhelms the immune system and penetrates the blood-brain barrier resulting in inflammation of the brain and spinal cord called West Nile encephalitis. Clinical signs include: loss of appetite and depression, fever (101° F or higher for two or more days), weakness of hind limbs, paralysis of hind limbs, muscle fasciculations (twitching or trembling), impaired vision, ataxia (incoordination), head pressing, head tilt, aimless wandering, convulsions, paralysis of the muzzle or tongue, droopy ear, vertigo, drowsiness, narcolepsy, inability to swallow, circling, hyperexcitability or coma. Horses that are recumbent and reluctant to rise are least likely to survive.
In this economy, animal shelters/rescues are overwhelmed– not just with dogs and cats, but with horses and donkeys and llamas and such. It is possible this poor horse was not vaccinated because its owner could not afford to vaccinate it.
Its also possible that the horses owner was an anti-vaxer. Considering this happened in California, its a viable possibility. What kind of ‘advice’ can horse owners get from other anti-vaxers?
If you choose not to vaccinate, your horse should be on supplemental Beta Glucan, Colostrum, Missing Link and an assortment of immune boosting herbs, including Garlic, as well as a monthly homeopathic Nosode specifically for West Nile. The Nosode is in a dose of 15 sugar pills about the size of a pencil tip and they can be dissolved and syringed into the mouth or the tiny pellets can be put directly on the gum. The cost to immunize with a WNV Nosode is generally less than the price to vaccinate.
Don’t just vaccinate because the media are playing up the threat of West Nile, and the vet pharmaceuticals are heavily advertising their vaccines. Question all statistics, particularly those attributing equine deaths to WNV. Call your local health departments, veterinary colleges or veterinary hospitals. Voluntary euthanasia does not mean the horse died of the disease; the euthanasia occurred because many vets are telling people there is no cure, therefore giving horse owners little hope. Uninformed consumers are needlessly putting down animals that could overcome the virus with a little extra care, homeopathic remedies, and a better immune system from better nutritional practices.
Be realistic, and weigh the evidence as well as the area in which you live to determine the risk factors. A horse with a healthy immune system and proper nutrition can naturally fight off a virus such as West Nile and would not have any noticeable symptoms. Talk to your vet and re-evaluate your feeding practices and supplement program to make sure your horse is healthier and has a good immune system.
Nosodes are homeopathic “immunizations” as opposed to “vaccinations.” They are made the very same way as a homeopathic remedy, by dilution, and succussion, except they are made from the “discharges” when an organism (animal or human) gets sick. For example, a distemper Nosode is made from the nasal discharge from an infected dog, a Parvo Nosode is made from the diarrhea of an infected animal, and the EPM Nosode is made from the spinal cord of an EPM positive horse.
Using a homeopathic West Nile Nosode in place of vaccines has been shown to prevent the disease, as it “immunizes” your horses safely (as opposed to chemically “vaccinating” them). One source for the West Nile Nosode is through www.holisticvetclinic.net. The directions for usage of the Nosode are simple and it is very cost effective, as a 1 dram bottle will treat 3 horses for one year at a cost of $20.00.
I do not know of any allopathic treatment available for WNV, once a horse becomes infected; however, there are homeopathic remedies that do treat WNV effectively with no side effects.
Dear Jessica Lynn– You are a horrible, horrible person. There is no reason why any horse should have to suffer through a WNV infection. There is no reason why any horse should die from WNV infection. We have a vaccine, we dont need glorified sugar cubes.