As many as 200 North Country horses will gain protection from the deadly EEE virus as a result of Thursday evening’s no-cost vaccination clinic sponsored by Senator Patty Ritchie.
The event is to be repeated again tonight at the Town of New Haven Highway Department, Route 104 garage.
Three dozen horses were vaccinated at the Herschberger family farm in Heuvelton, and veterinarian Dr. Jack Zeh, who offered his services at no additional charge to horse owners, arranged follow-up visits with more than 100 area farmers and horse owners who were unable to bring their horses there.
A second veterinarian is handling requests for as many as 100 additional vaccinations.
“This initiative is helping to spread the word about EEE and its dangers to humans, as well as horses,” said Senator Ritchie. “Horse owners and families who may never have heard of this disease are now aware of the need to protect themselves and their animals, and that’s the most important result of this event. I want to especially thank Dr. Jack Zeh for volunteering to administer these vaccines, as well as the Hershberger family, for opening up their farm to host the event, and spread the word among their Amish neighbors about EEE.”
EEE, or Eastern Equine Encephalitis, is a nearly always fatal disease in horses, and rarely also affects humans.
Last year, the disease claimed the life of 4-year-old Maggie Sue Wilcox of New Haven.
Horse owners who participated in the clinic were given information on how to protect themselves and their families from EEE, by avoiding mosquitoes that spread the disease.
A copy of that document is available at this link:
There is no human vaccine, but Ritchie has sponsored bipartisan legislation in Albany to get New York State actively involved in finding one, and making it available as soon as possible.
Twelve horses, most belonging to Amish families, are known to have died from the disease in Central and Northern NY in 2011. Senator Ritchie is hosting the EEE clinics, made possible with funds that she included in the State Budget, in the two counties in her district where horse deaths occurred.
Friday’s clinic is being held from 6 to 8 p.m.