Vaccine Helping Oklahoma Horses Beat West Nile Virus
EDMOND, Oklahoma - We aren't the only ones getting sick from West Nile Virus. There are two confirmed cases in horses in Oklahoma.
Even so, state officials say this is proof a vaccine to protect them is working.
Oklahoma's Top Vet says no vaccine is a guarantee, but says the west nile shot seems to be working or more horses would be sick.
Horses can't protect themselves like we can against mosquito bites, so local veterinarians say they deserve a shot.
"When one comes in you've got to really look closely to what you're dealing with," Edmond Equine Hospital Vet, Dr. Mayberry said.
Dr. Brook Mayberry does not like seeing sick horses like Buddy, many dealing with symptoms a lot like West Nile. Dr. Mayberry says horses can develop neurological problems anytime, but it's also a symptom of West Nile Virus.
"He started with he couldn't swallow and he didn't have control of his tongue," Dr. Mayberry said. Just like us, Dr. Mayberry says horses may also get a fever, making a diagnosis tricky.
"We tested him (Buddy) and he was negative," Dr. Mayberry said.
The veterinarian is happy to have medicine to fight against deadly mosquito viruses. A vaccine has been approved for horses since 2003.
"We don't have any virus killing drugs but what it ends up being in veterinary medicine we give him supportive therapy," he said.
He worries because many owners passed on the vaccine. "They should be very worried and they are," he said. "I'm getting a lot of calls hey, let's revaccinate and I'm all for it. When you have this type of problem going on, I think it would be negligent not to vaccinate."
OSU is working with both the department of health and agriculture to track West Nile cases.
"We didn't see a case or recognize a case last year," Dr. Mayberry spoke of the hospital where he's worked for five years.
Oklahoma's Disease and Diagnostics Lab says right now they currently testing several cases.