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Re: [RC] gas and wnv - Maryanne Gabbani

WNV conversations drive me crazy. We have WNV endemic in Egypt and it has been for generations. That is, we have mosquitoes everywhere for about 9 months a year and they carry all sorts of lovely things along with WNV.  Recently after our equine influenza epidemic this summer one of the vets here began calling farms saying that there was an increase in WNV cases in Egypt (unverified by any of us) and urging people to order WNV vaccine from the US and vaccinate immediately.

I didn't do it although one of my boarders did and I had the following reasons:

1. WNV itself is an arbovirus (a virus carried by an arthropod) that in a healthy animal or human causes a minor viral infection that is ordinarily mistaken for a mild case of the flu. What kills people and horses is not WNV but the encephalitis (a syndrome of symptoms that be caused by any number of other things than WNV..measles, mumps,all sorts of infections including those from a wound) that MIGHT accompany the WNV. Encephalitis is the killer not the WNV and while horses were quite sick with the WNV in the early years, it's now been in the US since 1999 and the population is no longer naive. I daresay if you were to randomly test for antibodies in unvaccinated humans and horses in many parts of the US, you'd find a lot of immune individuals. We did it here and were shocked to see what our horses were now immune to, especially since we have at least six other arboviruses floating around.

2. The viral vaccines do not keep the horses from getting the virus, they only attenuate the symptoms. So even if you vaccinate, the horses can get sick, but not as sick hopefully...no guarantees. In the Nile Valley where WNV (and Zimba, and, and, and) and mosquitoes are  endemic most of us, human and equine have gotten these things. Since horses and humans are dead end hosts for the virus, unlike birds who can pass it on, we aren't infecting anyone else.

3. During our EI epidemic the attenuation effect was very noticeable. Stables where horses had been vaccinated with the usual 5 way shots that are the only thing available here (and which are not recommended by most vets that I know) still got sick. They got less sick than other horses with maybe lower temperatures or less coughing but they still felt miserable and had hot and cold running snot...and they were quite capable of passing on the virus. Fun.

4. With a half dozen roaming arboviruses to consider, it was hardly surprising that farms were finding an increase in encephalitis cases after the EI. Many of the horses had highly compromised immune systems due to the flu and often to care that was less than adequate during its course. We also had a huge increase in salmonella cases due to owners smacking tons of antibiotics into sick horses as a "preventative" measure...antibiotics that wiped out most of the natural gut flora leaving the horses wildly susceptible to almost anything digestive.

All that said, the worst thing that I've seen with WNV vaccines is that they are mostly a waste of money...unless of course you are dumb and inject a sick horse with it, as quite a few panicky owners did here. I made my boarders wait a decent interval before vaccinating anything after the flu to be sure that the immune system compromised by the infection wasn't given a totally unnecessary smack by a new attack, since that is what a vaccination is, after all.

The most useful vaccines that I can see are rabies and tetanus, both of which actually prevent diseases that usually kill anything getting them. I have yet to be convinced of the usefulness of the viral vaccines.


On Wed, Oct 1, 2008 at 3:27 AM, oddfarm <jsalas@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
I just came back from Missouri (to Florida) and didn't have any problems finding fuel. I was looking for diesel, not gas but only found one station that had no gas. This was however, at about 3 am in the morning. It's not THAT bad. I came down I-something out of Paducah, KY and then I-75 all the way to Tampa. No problems.
I think this is the 8th year or so since the WNV. Dinero was born in 2000 and it was then or the next year we had the "outbreak". I was already having problems with other vaccines and didn't use any WNV vaccines on any of my 9 horses, and still haven't . I am about 2 hours south of Truman. I am not saying it is right or wrong, just that it is what it is. I have had horses come and go at my place, young and old. So far, no problems.
I did vaccinate against PHF as it was highly recommended.  That was a waste.
Lisa Salas, The Odd faRm
P.S. There is a great new farrier in Mountain Home, Arkansas if anyone is looking. He is good. E-mail me for his number if you are interested.
jsalas at tampabay dot rr dot com

Maryanne Stroud Gabbani

Egypt Face to Face
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[RC] gas and wnv, oddfarm