Dr. Kevin Hankins, senior veterinarian of Equine Technical Services with Zoetiss surprised me with some of the statistics related to mortality in horses contracting West Nile virus but then provided some hope. “Overall, It’s about a 37% death rate for horses that contract West Nile but if they’re down and can’t get up it runs about 80%. There is no treatment for West Nile. All you can do is supportive care. They get so bad that we’ve had to put them into slings, you have to sling them and get them up, put them on IV fluids, give them anti-inflammatories, we give them IV DMSO. There are things that you do but it is not a treatment for the virus. It is just there to try to get them through until their body can handle the virus. They usually start showing clinical signs about 10 days after being bit by an infected mosquito. Is the vaccination 100% effective? No. Vaccines are never going to be 100% effective. The good news is that all the vaccines that are on the market are highly effective. The original vaccine that is owned by Zoetis is about 98% effective.
Zoetis is a leading animal health company that makes and sells the vaccine