Insect related diseases affecting horses have been in the news and on the minds of western New York horsemen this fall. You may have heard reports of horses dying from Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis (EEE) in Wayne County. Or you may have heard that one of your neighbor's horses came down with a fever for no apparent reason. Maybe a horse in your barn has gone off feed, shown diarrhea. Should you be worried?
2015 has been a very rainy year in the Northeast. Increased water in our lakes, streams, ponds and swamps has promoted insect populations, and insects spread disease. GVEC has seen an increase in the numbers of horses we treat with diseases that are spread by insects.
Two of these problems, EEE and WNV, are easily preventable by vaccination. GVEC and the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) recommend that all horses receive WNV and EEE annually as part of the "core vaccinations" (Rabies, WNV, EEE/WEE, and tetanus) advised for every horse, no matter where they live or what they do for a living. Some of our clients also choose to vaccinate against Potomac Horse Fever, which is also related to insect exposure, but you should understand that this vaccine does not provide the comprehensive protection that the core vaccines do. More information on "core vaccines" and other available immunizations can be found at
Here is a review of the main insect related diseases we worry about in our area. Click on the links below to read a list of frequently asked questions about these diseases.
EEE (Eastern Equine Encephalitis)
EEE is a highly fatal viral disease of the nervous system that is spread by
mosquitoes. The virus has recently killed horses in Wayne County and has now been found in Monroe County.
A serious and potentially fatal systemic disease that can present as fever, inappetance and/or diarrhea. It can often progress to laminitis. Exposure occurs when horses eat infected caddisflies, mayflies, or dragonflies.
American Horse Council, and the
USEF, along with a large number of other industry groups, recently launched a website that posts up to date confirmed reports of occurrences of certain serious infectious diseases.
The Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC), is the one central national site where you can get the latest information about outbreaks in our area or around the country. Cases of EEE and WNV as well as conditions like strangles and equine herpes myeloencephalopathy are listed as they are confirmed. You may want to bookmark this valuable link on your smartphone or device: