During Encephalitis Outbreak, Owners Keep Horses Safe

Eastern Equine Encephalitis has hit the mainstream because of an outbreak in humans this year but it is a common issue in horses, one owners fight off every year. While people are protecting themselves for EEE, it has killed four horses in Michigan, including most recently one in Newaygo County.

The symptoms and the danger for humans and for horses of EEE are about the same but the difference is there’s a vaccine that you can give the horses.

“It’s something that just comes up a lot of times every year,” says Rachel Jackson, owner of the West Michigan Equestrian Center, “Sometimes it’s more prevalent than others.”

“Some of our boarders have been discussing it. We’re taking it one step at a time and there’s no need to be consumed with worry.”

The key is a vaccine for horses, a shot in the spring and a booster in the fall.

“The horses that have gotten sick and have died in our area, they weren’t vaccinated,” says Jackson,  “So that put us at ease when we know we’ve taken all those steps.”

Since not all vaccines are 100% perfect, you still try to keep the mosquitoes away.

“We just take the steps to make sure all our water buckets are scrubbed out every week,” says Jackson.

The shots should be enough but with an outbreak now even reaching people, you cane never be too careful.

“No matter how big it is, if it is happening whether it’s a small scale or a large scale, it’s something that we should take notice of,” says Jackson.

Vaccine or no, the Health Department says EE can not be transmitted to humans by horse or deer.