Vaccinating for West Nile Virus at High Altitudes

Q: I live at almost 8,000 feet in the mountains of Colorado. As far as I know, we have yet to have a case of West Nile virus above 6,000 feet, and only have mosquitoes for a few months anywhere in the state, so do I really need to vaccinate twice a year (or at all, if my horses never go "down below"), and if so why? 


A: The decision to vaccinate for any disease is a risk/benefit decision and I would recommend consulting your veterinarian on this important discussion. Your horse does appear to be at a low risk and in which case, I probably would recommend only an annual vaccination. The vaccines on the market are very effective and fairly inexpensive in comparison to the cost of treating a horse once it develops clinical WNV. Therefore, I would recommend vaccinating for this potentially deadly disease.

Learn more about West Nile virus and read more Q&A with Dr. Gutierrez in our free on-demand webinar: WNV Reality Check!

About the Author

Cynthia V. Gutierrez, DVM

Cynthia V. Gutierrez, DVM, is a veterinarian based in San Juan Capistrano, Calif.

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