If your equine clients are hesitant to spend much on veterinary care for their horses because they're short of cash, here's a few facts you can emphasize to illustrate the importance of preventive care, provided by Merial.
- Horses can easily contract West Nile virus as it's been identified throughout the United States. In fact, horses make up more than 95 percent of mammals other than people infected by the virus. If a horse is infected, supportive care may add up to $3,000, which is 45 times more expensive than a vaccine to protect against the disease.
- The bacteria that cause tetanus are omnipresent in a horse's environment—in manure, dirt, and rust—and 50 percent of infected horses will die.
- Like tetanus, it's impossible to eliminate the risk of exposure to Eastern equine encephalomyelitis (EEE) and Western equine encephalomyelitis (WEE) because they are endemic across the United States. These diseases are the most common causes of encephalitis in horses.
- Rabies is 100 percent fatal in horses, and protection from the virus also protects people who work with the horses.
The American Association of Equine Practitioners recommends that all horses be protected from the diseases listed above as part of its core vaccination program. Vaccination against the equine influenza virus, a leading cause of equine respiratory disease, and Potomac horse fever, a potentially fatal disease, may be warranted as well, depending on whether a horse lives in, or has traveled to, an area known to be at an increased risk for these diseases.
So if your equine clients balk about vaccinating their horses because of tight finances, ask them how they can afford not to vaccinate, considering the high risk of contracting a disease and the expensive or even life-threatening result.