Breeders/Owners Reports/photos
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Cases of Adverse Events of the WNV Vaccine.
Theres more than two dozen and we're still counting.

If you have a report you would like posted here, Please see the Contact Info page link at top of page.

This is a partial listing. More will be added as time allows. Thank you for your patience.

**NOTE Some names and/or contact information have been left out per owners request. **

My Andalusian Mare foaled in March, the filly was born without front legs. She has had 5 previous births(she is 9 years old) She recieved the Vaccine at the end of her first 30 days of pregnancy, then two weeks later. Fort Dodge is now ignoring my calls and emails. My foal was sold and the price was 20,000.
Toni CA
Photo shown above provided by owner.
My mare has had 2 healthy foals in the past (before WNV) but gave birth to a full term deformed foal after having herWest Nile shots at 75 and 103 days into her pregnancy. The filly was strong and beautiful from her ears back but had facial deformities (one nostril, one eye, giraffe-like muzzle, large lump on bridge of nose). It broke my heart to have to have her euthanized. My mare is in foal again and will not have another West Nile shot. I recently (after reading your information) asked my vet if he had reported my foal loss and was surprised to hear that he had not. I gave him the USDA website info and requested that he give them all my information. If enough vets don't report (because they think it's just a fluke) it will be really difficult to spot patterns developing.
Carole D., Tallahassee, FL

I want to add a note here. Carole brings up a good point. Please people, dont count on your vet to report these cases. Keep in mind that FDAH has told these vets that they have had no reports, or that they have only had a couple dozen reported cases.
Please call your own cases into the USDA (800-752-6255)
Ft. Dodge Animal Heath (800-533-8536)
and your State Vet
Now back to the cases.

Note: this one is not short as it contains many horses. Thank you Abby for sharing.

The following is an account of my farms experiences this year with the WEST NILE VACCINE: We raise and show Miniature Horses in Central Florida, 8 miles from the east coast and in an area highly likely for our horses to contact West Nile from all the mosquitos. We have been in the breeding business for 20 yrs. and have always had a very succesful foaling rate, never having had more than 1 mare every other year or so, slip a foal.
In 2002, at the beginning of the year, we felt that we needed to protect our horses from the West Nile Virus by vaccinating them. We were assured by our Veterinarian that is was no more unsafe than vaccinating for Encephalitis, so we vaccinated EVERY horse. This included 43 broodmares with the West Nile vaccine and then in 3 wks. we did it again with a booster (as advised by vet). At that point we saw no obvious reactions, so again in 6 months we boosatered ALL the horses - broodmares included.
First, let me explain that we had just bought this herd of Miniature Horses and that most were first getting bred during this time. We had our vet ultrasound all of the bred mares at 25 days and again at around 50 days. ALL OF OUR MARES CHECKED IN FOAL FOR 2003 DELIVERY DATES. This was a GREAT breeding year. In late fall of 2002, we again boostered the West Nile Vaccine.
In January 2003, I brought up the first group of mares to foal them out, a total of 6 mares. After a few days of watching my mares, I was worried that a couple of them did not look in foal, so I had my vet palpate all 6 mares. Only 2 were in foal, 4 were now empty! Of these 2 that were still in foal, the first mare, a 9yr old, had a black filly with a deformity of having NO REAR HOCK SOCKETS. The other mare delivered a placenta previa colt, who after 3 wks of watching made it OK.
In February and March, I brought up another 20 mares who were approaching their due dates. Again, after watching them a few days, we started having the vet palpate them. Only 9 were still in foal, 11 empty! Could my vets ultrasound have been broken last Spring? In any event, we kept going because sometimes life happens to you when you breed horses for a living. We felt sure the next batch of mares would be better.
It was April now, and we boosted for West Nile again (like dummies, still not getting the connection!)
This was when I started to HATE seeing vultures flying over my mare fields. On April 5th, a bay mare named "Starling" was down in the back field. I followed the vultures, and she had a dead foal by her side, placenta still attached to the colt. One week after this, "Little Red", our very favorite mare, was down. She had a placenta previa, 3 months early, foal dead.
Now my mind was spinning! Could it be the field fertilizer, the same stuff we have used for years - we STILL DIDN'T GET IT! But an idea was beginning to form in our heads. Could it be this new vaccine?.....Nah.......The vet wouldnt have let us use it if it wasnt safe!!??
So....another 17 mares left to foal out. On April 17th.....more vultures, another mare down in back. This time it was Lilliput our oldest mare at 16 yrs. old......the foal was too early to be viable, 6 months early!!! This mare almost died!
Of the 16 mares left, 10 were in foal, 6 were open. By this time we were deciding NOT to give any more West Nile vaccine for fear this had to be it! Everyone thought I was crazy thinking that a vaccine that was SUPPOSED to be no worse than the Enchephalitis vaccine was aborting my mares. But WHAT ELSE COULD IT BE!??
43 mares Ultrasounded by a vet, and re-checked in foal - Only 21 foals born ALIVE, 1 DEFORMED. Never before had I ever had more than 1 mare abort at most in a given year! If this were not bad enough, now comes the real fun .....NONE OF MY MARES WERE CYCLING RIGHT WHEN IT CAME TIME TO RE-BREED. Erratic heat cycles, transitional, even though it was MAY! No heat, breeding some mares through 3-4-5 heat cycles with NO results.
In addition to all of the breeding problems we had 2 deaths which could not be explained. One was a healthy 4 yr old mare who had NO health problems. Suddenly with no warnings she came up with a slight diarrhea and DIED. She had been vaccinated 1 week previous with the West Nile vaccine. A second death was a 5 month old filly who was healthy and died, AGAIN 1 WEEK AFTER BEING VACCINATED FOR WEST NILE.
Here at our farm, we live, sleep and breathe horses, but we dont really utilize computers. However, my good friend and one of my boarders found an article on the internet on a Denver post article about a group called the lost foals group . All of a sudden...We werent alone! IT WAS TRUE, THERE WERE OTHERS HAVING THE SAME HORRIBLE TIME AFTER USING THE WEST NILE VACCINE!!!
I called the FDA, Dept. of Agriculture, a million numbers, vets, newspapers and finally got in touch with other people who knew what we know know! WEST NILE VACCINE CAUSES ABORTIONS, ABSORPTIONS, DEFORMED FOALS, DISRUPTS NORMAL MARES CYCLES AND........ALAS.......CAN AFFECT THE FERTILITY OF STALLIONS ALSO!!
Yes, we bought a new stallion in the fall of 2002, vaccinated, re-vaccinated, boostered for West Nile. We bred him to 10 mares in 2003. None of them settled in foal to him. When we had purchased him, he had MANY foals.
One last thing, In april we had a mare we had bought back, we had 5 foals by this mare and she was 3 1/2 months in foal, checked by our vet. We (not realizing) boostered her for West Nile to keep her safe. 5 days later she aborted. Coincidence? or our own mistaken experiment? The results left us knowing for sure.
Half of our foal crop and income for 2003 and maybe 2004, GONE! We feel CONVINCED that this is due to the FORT DODGE WEST NILE VACCINE! THANKS FORT DODGE FOR WEST NILE VACCINE.......UNTESTED ON PREGNANT MARES!!!!
Abby Conder New Smyrna Beach, FL

I am a breeding manager for a small to mid-sized race horse breeding operation. We have 18 mares and 4 stallions. Last year we had 15 of the 18 mares in foal by April. When it was apparent that the WNV was going to coming on pretty strong that year we had the WNV shot given to 14 of the 15 (the 15th one was missed by accident when giving shots) and to 3 of the 4 stallions. All mares were due to foal this year between January and March. Out of 15 CONFIRMED in foal mares, we only have one baby. And the baby we have is from the mare that was missed. Also, our 3 stallions have still yet to settle any mares (our own mares and outside mares) the 4th is settling mares just fine. This has cost a ton of money, not to mention time. The only link that our vets and we can come up with is it's the WNV shot. Did we give the shot this year? HECK NO!! I think we're going to chance it for now on and just keep everyone in the barn with the fly spray system on.
N in OK.
Last year I had 48 confirmed pregnant mares. I lost a mare tothe wnv virus in July so I had Doc vaccinated 10 of the mares. The first WNV vacc. was given in late July, the second in early Aug. By late fall I noticed a couple of the vaccinated mares where showing heat. By early this spring only one of the vaccinated mares had a colt in her. So out of tem vaccinated mares I recieved one foal. He was born with stiff front legs and a hump in his back. We treated on the fromt legs hoping they would loosen up. But by the end of a week his legs had swollen to the point a front foot fell off. He had to be shot. Now the thirty seven mares that did not get vaccinated......... All had Healthy happy correct foals. I sold several of the mares that came up open. But the ones I kept all took 3-4-5 trys to get them in foal. We will see it they carry or not! Will I vaccinate again? Not on your life.
Butch Amberg MN
Hello, let me first introduce myself, my name is Billye Flora, owner of SmokinTree Ranch in s.w. Missouri,,I am a breeder of APHA Registered Paint horses.Last year I haD all my mares given the WNV shots, first inoculation in Aug, booster in Sept. I sold one of my mares (already bred) in November to a neighbor not even 5 miles from me. This April, I SHOULD have had several foals on the ground,of the mares I had bred for this spring,1 mare delivered a Red Bag foal, the others apparently re-absorbed,all were certified bred ,now, the mare I sold to my neighbor,who, incidently did NOT have his stock inoculated, delivered a Red Bag foal,and his mares(again I stress were NOT vaccinated) all gave birth to live , healthy foals. Now,, to further this example, He and I purchase our feed from the same feed store, purchase our hay from the same gentleman, and obiviously being within less than 5 miles of each other , the pastures pretty much contain the same grasses.I KNOW, yes, I repeat, I KNOW this all can be traced back to the Incoulation for the WNV. I am not alone in this determination to prove this fact. I have issued an email to all breeders I know and asked them to forward it on to any and all breeders they know, I am hearing from Breeders I dont even know, from coast to coast and border to border.. all with the same scenario,,,WNV is the connecting link. Now, I realize we wont hear from EVERY breeder who has experienced problems after administering the shots for WNV, due to the fear of their Credentials as a breeder being drug thru the dirt,, and I can see their point ,,,,, to an extent,however,,if we all dont come forward, nothing will be done, At this point ,,Ft.Dodge is claiming no fault and Im sure its due to the small number of people , like myself, who are coming forward. I , as well as many other breeders, have lost thousands in foal sales, not to mention mare care during gestation, and we wont even touch on the heartache experienced in these losses. If anyone would like to get in touch with me, feel free,,I look forwards to talking with anyone who wants to join our Crusade to put a halt to this ,, all for the Mighty Dollar.My email addy is God Bless you all in your endeavors,,, I wish you all Peace,
Last year I had my morgan gelding vaccinated with WNV. Within a couple of hours he had a couple welts. Within a couple of days, his back and withers where covered and some on his rump. All of the welts got oozie and lost their hair. I had tried several times to call my vet out and he stated maybe from the bedding and give him a bath (no change in bedding for several months). Since the spots where getting better I (changed vets) called Fort Dodge directly. They did thank me for letting them know and had a vet call me back. They said it was probably an allergic reaction and to make sure that he was given an antihistamine prior to vaccination the next year. But to only that shot? I was told this year that the base that they mix the vaccine in with changed and due to the fear in this area did agree to revaccinate with (thankfully) no problems. After reading this site I think I'll rethink that for next year until further proof is out. When I saw a FD rep at midwest horse fair this year and asked they did say they had heard of no reported issues. I replied that's funny because I reported it myself.
No name please IL
Hello, We are breeders of quarter horses, who last year (2002), didnt vaccinate any of our mares for West Nile. We had no problems with foaling. This year, we vaccinated 3 of our broodmares, the 1st shot on 4/16/03, 2nd on 5/1/03. One mare, Sage, was due to foal July 2003, the other, Cinder, was due 5/7/03. The third mare was vaccinated after her foal was born. Fourth & fifth mares did not receive the vaccine. 26 days after the 2nd shot was given,(5/27/03) Sage aborted a otherwise healthy foal. 4 days later, (5/30/03 )Cinders colt was stillborn. We had out vet do a necropsy on the 2nd colt, and he sent blood, fluid, tissue, organ & placenta samples to the North Dakota State University we havent received any word back as of yet. The vet who did the necropsy saw nothing unusual about either foal, or any clue as to what may have happened to them. Sage was a first-time pregnancy, Cinder has had multiple foals- all with no problems; the sires were different horses. All the mares are in good condition, with no health issues or defects. The mares who did not get the shots-all foaled healthy, perfect colts.
T. Norman MN
UPDATE 7/17/03. Here are the necropsy results on the aborted colt we had, 5/30/03, and the serum (blood) samples taken from the mares that aborted. This information was given to me by my vet today (07/10/03), after he received it from the University of Minnesota Diagnostic Laboratory, College of Veterinary Medicine, dated 6/23/2003. Clinical signs: Abortion Specimen: Formalin fixed and unfixed tissues. Histopathology: No significant microscopic lesions are detected in sections of the brain, liver, lung, heart, kidney, thymus and placenta. Bacteriology: Heavy growth of Aeromonas sp. was isolated from aerobic culture of the placenta. Aerobic culture of the liver and spleen yielded a few colonies of Aeromonas sp. Results of the in vitro antibiotic sensitivity for Aeromonas sp. were sent to you by fax on 06/09/03. No bacterial growth was obtained from aerobic culture of stomach contents. No Salmonella isolated from tissue composites cultured in selective enrichment media. Virology: Flourescent antibody (FA) evaluation of liver and lung was negative for Leptospirosis. No EHV-1 was detected in sections of kidney and liver by FA technique. Attempts at virus isolation are in progress. Results will be reported when completed. Summary: Abortion, idiopathic. Comments: The significance of Aeromonas isolate in this case are questionable. It is known that animals can be fecal carriers of Aeromonas spp. Mostafa Bouljihad, DVM PhD
I asked my vet to translate the above; he said there were NO definitive answers as to why our colts died in their findings. The findings reported show there were not any defects, diseases and/or infections that they were able to find, that would explain the foals deaths. The same was repeated with the serum (blood) taken from each of the mares. The blood was re-drawn and tested again, two weeks later. Same results: no reason found as of yet for the aborted/stillborn colts. T. Norman, MN
I too have had terrible experiences with the vaccine. I can sit here and think of at least 20 people that have the same story. I had a beautiful palomino mare that had been in the top ten every out at the PHBA world. She had NEVER been sick a day in her life. She was in a barn with pesticide spray on her, only turned out with fly spray on her. She was vaccinated and wormed every 3 months. She was LOVED and had better care than most people.
I too was concerned about west nile. I started vaccinating about this time last year on my show horses and broodmares faithfully every 6 weeks for the first 2 then every 3 months after is what I was told by very reputable vets. After the first 2 I lost my PHBA mare, that was BRED (about 6months along). These horses are cared for by me, heck their farts can smell a little "off" and I know it. The night before Barbie came down with a full blown case of West Nile , she stood in the aisle of the barn, I clipped and bathed her. She NEVER showed a sign. The next morning by 10 am she could bearly stand in the stall on her own. I sat with her for 4 days round the clock putting over $1,000 of medication in her, we still lost her. It was the most horrible thing I have ever seen. She begged me to help her and I was helpless. I had 2 vets on her and still lost what good is the shot?
My neighbors horses stay out, no shots no fly spray, no nothing and of the hundreds of horses I know of, not one got the shot, NONE got the virus and NONE died! I was on my 3rd shot!
I know enough medical background about horses......titer count, blodd serum, natual immunity all that jazz.
My question is this......when a horse is getting the series of shots........say an infected mosquito bites the give the shot,does it act like PEOPLE who have the flu and get the flu shot........does it amplify the case and give the horse a full blown case just like the flu shot does people? I believe with ALL my heart that is what happened to my mare.......the shot GAVE it to her. I know it is supposed to be a KILLED virus.......can they guarantee that?
I am NOT the ONLY one this happened to . I would love to see how many people have the same thing happen. I lost my mare and her baby. I have such a hard time with this vaccine. I get physically sick every time I give it. I don't sleep for nights getting up to check on my "children" dreading the morning of opening the door and finding another one with this. I WILL not go through another one....I will just put it down.
Thank You Elaine, Wilson Okla.
Hi. I received a link to your web page. I also vaccinated, but waited till 30 days before foaling dates for two mares, and 45 days for one mare (vaccination day was the same day for all three mares), for the first dose. I waited till they foaled to administer the second. The mare that was due 45 days later foaled three weeks later. The colts front legs were too tight (the tendons) for him to stand. We splinted him, but he was either traumatized from thrashing around before we found him, or he was a dummy colt. His tongue hung out continually. He died 12 hours after birth, despite all our efforts to save him. The other two mares both foaled 10 days late (they were also inseminated the same day... go figure!). One mare's colt has tight tendons in the front legs, which reservedly I am contributing to his being so danged fat. However, Ive been breeding QH's for 25 years and specialize in feeding for good legs... The other mare's foal seems very normal. Legs are fine. He is a bit stringy looking, but his moms a TB. Both colts have the same sire. The colt that died was by a different sire. Even before reading your web page I had decided to NOT vaccinate pregnant mares.
Respectfully submitted, Victoria T
We vaccinated for wnv this year. Most of our mares had already foaled, our last mare was due three days after the shots were given. The foal had been eagerly awaited. I asked my veterinarian three times before she gave it, if it was safe that close to foaling. The foal was still born. It did not even take a breath. I had talked to this baby in the mare. It kicked and moved up until the shots were given. My husband and I were devastated. This foal was worth over $ 4500. We have a total of 14 horses we vaccinated. NEVER AGAIN. The veterinary's statement was Better the foal than your whole herd! Can you imagine.? I was furious and hurt. We are small breeders. It made the difference between profit and loss not to mention the heartache.
Jennifer, J and R Quarter Horses Linn, Missouri
Hi, I was horrified to read what is happening to the horses after being given the west nile shot. This might explain why my Miniature mares will not take. I have spent way over .00 trying to get my mares who are young and very healthy in foal. I have done shots to bring them in and used the HCG shot to take them out, but 18-21 days later they are back in heat again. They have been bred to different stallions but still no babies or if they were in foal they had aborted or reabsorbed by the time they were ultra sounded. I have never had this problem of getting mares settled in the 22yrs of breeding mini's. The bad thing is I've just revaccinated everyone for this year but unless it can be proven safe for my horses I will never do it again.
Jackie form Texas
Last year I bred 6 mares, all have multiple foals on the ground with the exception of one and she had given us a beautiful foal that spring. I gave the WNV injections as I was breeding 4 of them. The two that were already bred and in their second trimester had normal foals this spring. The 4 that I was in the process of breeding all ultra sounded bred but 3 aborted within 2 months time and the 4th carried the foal almost to term. The last foal looked like something out of a space movie. He had tiny, thin legs ( no bigger than a pencil ) and a very long neck ( his head was facing over his back and was so small I was able to manually turn his head inside the mare.) Nothing was found in the necropsy and he was alive when he was born.
This year I waited til all mares were ultra sounded bred but have decided to not give the vaccine even though I have it on hand. I'm sorry I gave it to the stallions and yearlings now that I have read the articles on your site.
Moneica K.
Having read your articles and posts with great interest, I was deeply disturbed when I went back over our records for breeding and foaling over the past year since we began vaccinating for West Nile. I cannot say that the problems are related but there are some suspicious links!
We had a mare abort in her seventh month (confirmed pregnant by vet) but we were unable to find the foal and believe that coyotes may have carried the body away before we could check it. This mare searched for her foal for days.
We vaccinated two more mares who both turned up open this spring, after being bred and never showing heat again into the end of last summer and fall.
An Arabian mare who was vaccinated and who has always given birth to beautiful healthy foals had a foal who was born "normal" but who suffered a severe compound leg fracture at one week with no explicable cause. What was weird was that instead of being the normal "milky white" color, the bones in his upper leg were a deep black color and the bone appeared to be fragile and crumbly. He was put down due to the severity of the break.
We vaccinated one of our stallions last fall, and after vaccination, he did not get any mares pregnant again until spring even though he covered mares who had been consistently bred late in the breeding season and conceived at the same time of year before.
We vaccinated a second stallion last fall. We will now run tests on him to see if he is fertile as he has covered a mare several times but failed to impregnate her.
We vaccinated a third stallion but only one dose was given. There have been no problems with his fertility to date.
We did vaccinate two other mares who were sold and we did not hear from the new owners regarding her pregnancy. The other one delivered a healthy foal.
We have two mares who are currently pregnant. One was vaccinated during early pregnancy. She has had ten previous foals-all normal, and is due in one month. The other mare was vaccinated well before she became pregnant. She has not received a booster, and is currently four months pregnant.
I will let this group know if there are any foals born with problems, especially the mare due next month.
Thank you for posting these stories. If there is a connection all breeders need to know now.
Paul & Janet A.
Updated 7/30/03 The last time I posted to this group I said we had two mares left to foal. The mare that was due in one month has now turned up open. She was confirmed in foal last fall. I am seeing a trend anyone else? It seems to me that the earlier in pregnancy the mares are having the WNV vaccine the worse the problems. The same things happen in humans too....some drugs are safe later in pregnancy but catastrophic when given in the first trimester. We now have just one mare left to foal. We have just healthy three foals on the ground, all out of mares who did NOT receive the WNV vaccine.
Paul & Janet.
We have a 6 year old registered QH mare that was bred to a foundation stud for a 2003 foal. The mare was bred on 6-14-02 to a foundation QH stud. On May 16, 2003 she had a bay filly that appears to be healthy, but has a horrible disposition. We had given the mare the WN shot on 8-5-02 and the booster on 9-5-02. The mare had the colt early in the morning and did not clean. We took her to our vet who pulled the rest of the placenta out as it was hooked and then she flushed her. She had her foal heat, but has not come in heat since that time. We are now thinking that we should not have given her the WN shot. She has become very aggressive and has tried to kick when we go in with her. She was always sweet tempered before she had the WN shot. Her colt is bad tempered as well. Now all of a sudden we have a mare that is acting very aggressive and has not come back into heat. When she was taken to the vet the day she gave birth to the filly, our vet gave her a WN shot. We have been told that Fort Dodge said that mares should not be given the WN shot for 10 days after foaling. Now we think we may have a sterile mare that is no good for foaling. We own another QH mare that has never been given the WN shot and she will never be given the WN shot! We are seriously thinking about selling the other mare because of her bad temper now. I think all people who are raising colts should not give the WN shot to their mares until it is proven safe, and I doubt that will happen.
L. & D. Nitchals, IA
Name with-held
Hello, I am a breeder of QH and i have a couple of Mini horses i lost a filly this year out of my mini who previously has had no problems she foaled a stillborn filly and i had it necropsied and they could tell me nothing they said it looked perfectly fine no disease nothing she had an easy birth and all and reading this Website it came to mind she was vaccinated in the end of the pregnancy for WNV . It really makes me wonder after reading all the these trajic stories my heart goes out to everyone what a loss i hope research goes into this i will not VACCINATE again i will take my chances
Jill, VA
I lost a foal this year as well. The mare was given WNV vaccine sometime in the first two months of pregnancy. The foal died shortly before birth 6 days after her due date.
Not only did 3 of my 12 mares abort/absorb last year, I gave the WNV shots to my breeding stallions this spring and both went sterile! The young stallion is still sterile, and the old stallion was bad for about 2 weeks. He is back to about 30% now, so I can at least breed with fresh semen, but I lost $ 2250 in semen shipments in one week that he went bad (3 weeks post WNV booster). No one is seemingly able to give me an answer on what is going on here. It is not a reproductive disease I have going here---I haul my mares all to a vet clinic where my stallions reside and everything is bred AI, so it is all very clean. Sent cultures in on both stallions and both came back negative. Vets still scoffing at the idea of WNV causing all of this, but I have never had this much trouble ever with these horses breeding, and the only thing I have changed in the last year is giving the WNV vaccine. No one can come up with a better explanation for me yet.
A. S.

I just found out about your website and must show you what was born to our quarter horse mare on May11, 2003. She is a proven producer bred to a proven paint. This foal had no nostrils and no eyeballs in hissockets. He did stand with great difficulty but was never able to nurse having no palate to suck against. Healso had great difficulty breathing. Our vet euthanized him at 6 hours. There was apparently something verywrong with his front legs also but the whole thing was so horrible I stopped taking pictures after he stood.The mare had definetly had both West Nile shots early in her pregnancy. Our vet could give no explanationfor his deformities stating he had never seen aything like it before. We could not get her back in foal afterthis but only tried once beacuse of the lateness of the season. She has been vaccinated this year but we willthink and watch carefully before we breed her again. We have another mare in foal that has been vaccinatedwe will watch very carefully. We have wondered why vaccine is available for horses so quickly and not forhumans. Are our horses being used as guinea pigs?? Thank you for developing this website so we can shareour tragedies and hopefully do something about it. We thought we were entirely alone with this.
Norene, Calif.
I am only a backyard breeder, putting an old type Morgan on the ground every few years. However, I thinkafter reading these posts, that I know now what's going on.
Last year, I bred a mare in April. In Mayshe had her WNV booser. She aborted. I then sold this particular mare prior to her yearly vaccines this year.She caught immediately for her new owners.
Now I have another mare with the stallion, in hopes of a2004 foal. The stallion had his WNV in Feb., this mare had her's in mid-April. She is cycling strongly, but she's not catching (where she always did easily before). This is very frustrating, and I'm angry that Ft. Dodge is not owning up to it.
Jennifer Robinson
Thank you for posting this site to our National Show Horse list. I read most the letters on the site. I have to say that after having a 100% success rate in live foals at our farm the past few years, 2003 was a much different year after starting the WNV shots on all of our horses in 2002. We did have one Arabian mare abort in 2002 after 60+ days. She had 8 healthy foals the previous years with no breeding problems. We did get her back in foal finally just a couple weeks ago(June 2003). We had one very healthy Saddlebred mare abort her term foal after receiving a the WNV vaccination along with her 30 day pre-foaling shots. We have 3 out of 10 mares in foal for 2004 as of today. We just rebred most this last week and have one more to cover for the second and third time on Monday June 24, 2003. We resorted to bringing in all of our broodmares from the pastures and keeping them in stalls and on regu-mate. I have had easy breeders and young healthy mares that were in foal as early as March 2003, abort this spring. We have never had to rebreed as much as we have this summer. I would like to know what other NSH list members are experiencing. I have seen what West Nile can do to a young, unvaccinated filly but do we risk loosing our mares and unborn foals? What is this going to do to their reproductive systems in the long run? I am thinking strongly about skipping the 2004 WNV shots! Kim M, in NE
In Feb. of 2002 I leased out my double-bred DOC-BAR stallion to a new and struggling to survive breeder, who bred 9 mares of his own and 1 outside mare. All were bred between April and June, and all were confirmed safe in foal. In Nov. the 1st shot was given and in Dec. the second shot was given to the 9 home mares and the stud. Not one mare foaled......and the stud is not settling anything. The one outside mare delivered a healthy foal. This stud had a 100% conception rate until this shot was given, and the mares were all proven brood stock, with no breeding or disease problems. If my stud is ruined, I am going to be looking at Fort Dodge for a class action suit....And I have been told it is already in the works. I have spent 35 years getting to the horses I now have...and I am not going to start over.
PB in WA state
Our mares where all confirmed in foal last yr. Breeding dates ran from 4/18-5/21/02. We vaccinated for WNV on July 21 and Aug., 7/02. We didnt notice any thing different about the mares. We gave them their 5,7 and 9 rhino boosters. In Dec., 02 we started thinkin that one of the mares was open. By late January we where sure she want. By the end of March is was obvious that none of our mares where infoal. Now the real kicker is.. None of our mares that lost foals are comming into heat. They are clean, but they dont cycle. It now looks like we will not get foals out of these mares next year either.
Koons QHs. Welcome, MN
I have 3 horses that where bred in seperate months. One mare being 13, QH has had 7 foals. She is an easy breeder and settles just fine, she was hand bred the month of July for a 2003 foal. We gave the first WN shot in August of 2002, the 2nd shot in late Sept 2002. By febeuary of 2003 I noticed that my mare was not her usual size. By March my mare was in heat. The second mare, was bred in April of 2002, she received the Wn shots the same time as mare #1. She was confimerd empty in March of 2003. The 3rd mare, we are scared as heck, she received the west nile shot the day she was bred, the second shot 5 weeks later. This mare is due to foal in about 3 weeks. I have a neighbor who has a little colt born in April whos front legs are not right. We are terrified that our 3 rd mare will have a deformed foal. We will keep you posted about the mare that is bred. We will not give WN shot to our mares or our stallion. We have taken other messures to hopefully prevent or help fight the virus if our horses contract the west niles virus.
In the spring of 2001 we had our two mares bred. Mid summer we had them cheked in foal. In August same year we had all our horses vaccd for westnile. Vet came out twice mid. August and early September. End of Septenmber, early October one mare was in heat. In late October the second mare was showing heat. We got no foals in 2002. We took the mares back and had them bred in 2002. They all had nice colts this spring.
The Johnsons IA
My two mares were vaccinated last spring before being bred. They were given their booster shot at the clinic while there for insemination. I had both mares ultrasounded - one mare was implanted, one mare fertilized but not implanted. Both mares absorbed their babies. Not that I have raised a lot of foals, but I have never lost one after implantation. This scenario was very common in my area, and my vet clinic is not recommending the shot if broodmares can be kept inside during the day/dusk. I am not rebreeding, b/c I don't want to risk my mares getting WN - so I am now forced to eat over $ 2000 of breeding fees. Ouch! (not to mention clinic time and insemination costs).
Cheree MN
hi INDIANA breeder of AQHAs here.. have a total of 3 mares.. all have had WN ... in 2002... all to date have DEAD babies.. first mare gave REDBAG birth a beautiful black filly who lived about 3 days.. could NOT stand up n nurse.. we nursed her from our living room for 3 days.. and watched her in agony die a slow horrible death.. mare #2 ,,had foal yr before.. baby was HEALTHY appearing to be any way.. REDBAG birth.. again... retained placenta... also .. baby died for NO apparent reason 5 days later... mare #3 a HEALTHY palomino mare of 5 yrs.. first pregnancy.. lost foal at 51/2 months.. all mare s have been bred n rebred... AGAIN.. and waiting to see if they settled.. we have the stallion right here... mares n stallion all had WN shots in 2002 ... vet was on scene when the two foals were born.. doesnt know WHY they had this kind of birth...[s] all mare s are young and very healthy... I hope someone tries to find out what happened.. we contacted the LEXINGTON university and they told us they had over 900 aborted mares.. or dead babies they were investigaing a t this time... some in Kentucky some in southern Indiana...
Korki IN
On the recommendation of our vet during a vet check in march 01... Our mare was started on the west nile shots. She give her shot 1 on 3-1-01 and shot 2 on 4-1-02. On 4-14-02 she had a sutd colt that died a day and a half later. In 8-02 this same mare came down with west nile was treated and died in 9-02.
B&M Flohrs MN
We breed anywhere from 10 to 15 mares a year. We specialize in AQHA, APHA, and Thoroughbreds but we decided to dabble with Clydesdayles. We bought a beautiful Blue Roan Sabino Clydesdayle mare that has produce several healthy foals. Her previous owner vaccinated her for the WNV in the fall of 2002. We have been trying to breed this mare since January of 2003 and it is now June 2003. We even put her on Regumate. She comes into heat but never gets pregnant. This is the only mare on our property that has been vaccinated for the WNV. All of our other mares are confirmed in foal. Last fall I heard a rumor that the WNV vaccine can cause problems with pregnant mares and in-utero foals. My husband and I decided that we would wait till spring to vaccinate our horses to see if anyone else had problems. I am so thankful we waited because now we know the rumor was true and we WILL NOT vaccinate any of our mares for the WNV. As for the Clydesdayle mare, this is our last attempt to get her bred.
Kasey Hull, OR
Hello-We bred 4 mares 2 weeks after giving W. N. 2 were checked in foal at 1 1/2 month, and all 4 were rechecked again @ 5 mths and 1 mare had reabsorbed her foal... The two mares that were pregnant but reabsorbed LOOKED pregnant up until early Jan. this year and ended up coming up open. Never found foals/etc. in the 2 acre paddock so don't know what happened to them. This year we have 1 live foal and 3 mares that absorbed. I have no doubt in my mind it was W.N. as all were healthy happy mares and one of the mares that reabsorbed is a VERY easy breeder with absolutely no problems ever before. We won't be vaccinating again!
I just received this web site from a friend in Missouri, and glad to have gotten it. As I was about to re - up all my horses in July. Right now I have two geldings that I just recently gelded, they both received the shots one in the fall and the other in the last two months. Neither was settling my mares. I just figured it was a fluke and I got some sterile studs (both different breeds), are that they were to young, (26 to 27 months old) but fully functional and dropped. One mare took finally, but absorbed in 3 months, 3 other mares all around 4to 6 years of age have not conceived, so now I have them at another breeders. We just thought we were having a bad season. But friends that I know who's mares are taking do not give the West Nile. Neither will we this year. I am just hoping that the nice Missouri Fox Trotter stud that I bought and had the vaccine given to him in Jan. did not make him go sterile, because that is what I bought for. Also bought mare that had a foal exactly the way that everyone is saying theirs were, will contact previous owner to see if he administered west nile. (lost both mare and foal). I will be sending this web page to every horse person that I know.
Angela, TX
I am a brand new Morgan breeder at age 62. My first foal was born a-okay. My second died this past Wednesday at New Bolton Veterinary College, University of Pennsylvania. Her shoulder looked like nothing they had ever seen before and we had one of the foremost equine orthopedic veterinarians, Dr. Dean Richardson, working on the case. It was inoperable and she was humanely destroyed with her mother and me by her side. She was a zingy, typey, tractable, in-your-pocket baby not yet 5 weeks old and was pre-sold to my neighbor who midwifed the maiden mare in an uneventful delivery for $ 3,500 upon weaning. Revel's Run Cadence, Cady, is desperately missed. Thank God the mare had closure and was not distraught on the drive home. The only thing she did was protect a ghost baby for a couple of days from the other horses.Yes. The mare, WSG Mystique Spirit, was vaccinated 2 months before breeding and 6 weeks before birthing (she was overdue) with WNV. The other mare, Lignite's Moulin Rouge, was vaccinated as well but her filly, so far, looks fine. I've just taken Spirit for a repeat breeding with a lot of prayers that this won't happen again. I'd like to be kept up-to-date on the Lost Foals Group and please know my heart is with all of you who have suffered as I have.
Timmi P, Finksburg MD
I've sent an email to Ft. Dodge telling them they can get post mortem results from Dr. Richardson at New Bolton. We'll see what happens.
UP-DATE 7/1/03-My baby deformed in utero in the shoulder, Revel's Run vet did NOT vaccinate the mare 6 weeks before Cady was born. My error. He stated WNV should NEVER be given to pregnant mares. Of course I had her vaccinated 2 months before she was bred. Who knew? And still, who knows? Ft. Dodge called my vet on this so they did follow through. Timmi in MD
We just heard about your group that has been formed. I would like to tell our story, and hope to keep it short as possible. My husband and I breed and raise quarter horses. We decided to vaccinate our broodmares last August after a breakout near us, and the recommendation of our veterinarians. Three days after the first shot, four of our mares bagged up. Eleven days after the first shot one of our mares was diagnosed with West Nile, and we did save her, but she was open. She had been ultrasounded pregnant at 15 and 40 days. We gave the second shot to our mares, and here is how we ended up this spring. Another mare was open, one mare had a contracted foal, the filly had to be put down, she was totally crippled. We were not able to breed the mare back this year because of the traumatic birth. We had a colt with septicemia, lost another broodmare from unknown reasons, had a naval infection, and even worse, we have had the poorest conception rate this year that we ever had. Our mares have been easy breeders until this year. We were running 90% and better on our conception rate, and had healthy foals. Now out of 12 mares, we hope to maintain 6 pregnancies. We boostered the mares, and one that had been bred February 1st is now open. The semen was good, the mares ovulated, but no pregnancy. I could go on with a couple of other stories, but I am not going to. The thing is, I wrote to Fort Dodge, and told them about the mares bagging up. A veterinarian replied I should have our vet confirm the condition, and contact them. I think we can tell when our mares are bagging up for no apparent reason. With our astronomical veterinarian, and breeding bills, and our apparent BAD LUCK, I have to believe something is wrong...... we have lost thousands of dollars this year. Like I said we did booster the mares this spring, but now I am afraid of what we are going to run into in the next year. We are for good reason very shy about using the vaccine again. Consider it said. Thanks. We are glad someone is questioning the West Nile Vaccine.
Sincerely, RR in South Dakota
I just saw the web site and was amazed that it is there. I have had a foal this spring that was born with a lime green eye (and I mean it was lime green all the way through like a marble) My vet had never seen anything like it. The foal is partially if not totaly blind in the other eye. I elected not to have her put down so she is now 5 months old. Her lime eye has turned to a brown but still no sight and the other one is also brown. She will be going to the University of Fla. soon for diagnosis. The mare has had two other foals that were fine. The only difference that I could come up with was the WNV vaccine. Of course my vet said that was not possible,that she had given 2000 shots with no reactions. (I might add that I gave all 13 of my horses the vaccine and I had one with a somewhat severe reaction ) Later I told a friend about it that lives in a county 4hrs away and she said a friend of hers had a foal born with a deformed face and no eyes. She felt that it was connected to the vaccine or to spraying. Now the next thing will really blow you away! My good friend had a foal (she lives about a mile from me). I arrived at her barn just after the foal was born and he had a deformed face and no eyes. (The vet called it Ryenose) She had a necropsy done and the brain was normal. The mare has had 4 other foals that were perfect. The only difference again was the WNV vaccine. I have sent this to my friend and she can send pictures of the foal. Luckily we were of sound enough mind to take them after loosing such a nice baby Please let me know if I can be of any assistance in your research. I think this is a genuine concern for all horse owners.
Karen M. Melbourne,Fla.
A friend of mine sent this too me via a support group. Anyways... I also was informed about lack of info on this vac. with preg./breeding mares. I lost the foal (I had seven due in total for 2003) I had been VERY much waiting for. The vet was not concerned the fact that the mare was thirteen months preg. and upon palpating told me I must have had my dates wrong due to the fetus was small and I had a month to go. Withen forty-eight hours my mares foaled. She had red bag for ??? hours until she finally passed so much of the bag. I had my mother call the vet out, and got my mare walking. The colt was everything I had been hoping for. Perlino overo colt. Remy. He was to the development stage of nine months even thou gestation wise he was thirteen. He was also a dummy foal. He started having convulsions within two hours and I had the vet come out and euthanize him. The vet also figuired Remys internal organs like his lungs had developed properly either. I had one other red bag but that foal survived. Although he had a hard start. A few weeks after this my vet had another call very much like mine. The foal was still birth. I very much am upset by this. As are afew other of my friends who also have had problems with this. Thank you for what you are doing. I hold prayers and wishes for all those left behind.
Sincerely, Claudeane K.

I am a small breeder, I have a fine old stallion and 9 broodmares, and I am a retired Vet Tech. I gave theWN as everyone did due to the scare and potential death of my horses. They are all pets, not just breedingstock. I bred 39 mares total in 2002, I have had to rebreed 14 outside mares, and some did not comeback.Most were absorbed their vets told them, some born about 9 wks early and dead, then I began gettingcalls from friends all over the U.S., who were having foals lost prematurely, one thought the shuttle was thecause, some said they gave the 5,7,9 pnuemabort vax ,some didnt,.but I began to ask about the WN, all gaveit! I told them to call Ft. Dodge, as they also make the Pnuemabort vax and should be told about it. Somegot a response some didnt, they just got rude people on the other end. Now we are all breeders and most ofus know normal from not, some were suspicious, anyway, there I am sitting there thinking boy am I lucky!All my mares are good so far, I have several very old gals but they had foaled already, normal healthy babies.Then my little paint mare, young, healthy and lively, went into labor, a beautiful tobi stud colt was born, thenthe bag opened and he had a Rhino nose, the worst I had seen, he was adorable otherwise, we called himCourage, he was put to sleep within 24 hrs., he could not even be bottle fed, and shortly after my youngestmare 4 yr, healthy lively mare, came up thin, 9 wks early a blk/wht stud colt, never got out of the bag..Icalled my vet and took the fetus there, Called Ft. Dodge and spoke to the Vet there, I told him all that wenton, unfortunately we had buried Courage, but they paid for all tests done on my mare and the fetus. Thetests showed she had a bacteria in the foals lungs, and she had the same in her uterus.????????a streptype????? she was AI for breeding, and why would it take so long to get there???? 9 mo?? To all those whoread these testimonies, keep calling Ft Dodge, get someone to call you back, get someone to test for you,scream, threaten with law suets, anything to get this all on record. Now my biggest scare is I redid boostersbefore the 2 foals were born on my older mares and my stallion, who had some semen problems this year! Ialso had a boarder come down with a unusual virus? this year, started like colic, then violent shaking allover, my vet said if it were a mare she would think copper loss, but with 10 liters of fluids and banamine by 5 am he was better.Strange also that 3 weeks later a friend had her gelding suffer from a similar illness, both vets were unable to say what it was, they almost had wn like symptoms but not quite, both got better, also I need to add that both geldings were not fed the same, not housed the same or anywhere near the same area, but both had been given the WN vax.Have I started a new worry for me for next year???
E. Cassell, TX
Photo above provided by owner.
My horse was given the west nile vaccine, and it cost me $ 6,500 to save his life within 24 hours of the time of the injection. The vet said it was not the shot that caused his encephalitis. I am a nurse and know that is not true. None would act on this, and Fort Dodge supposedly never heard of his case. I gave up trying to get the word out when people continued to harass me about telling my story. I am so glad someone has been successful in letting people know the dangers of believing drug companies.
sincerely; carol bloss
I began to question the WNV vaccine in our mares when two of three mares who were given a WNV booster with their pre-foaling vaccines produced foals with contracted tendons. The first we lost, the second recovered on it's own and the third is being treated with casts and should recover. We have never had a problem with this type of thing before and we were really shocked at the situation. We did not know what to blame but did question our veterinarian. There has been a definite increase in this problem in our area this year and the only common denominator is the WNV Vaccine.
Name with-held
I gave west nile shots in March 2003 - Yes I had 5 pregnant mares within weeks of delivery date - only 2 now have foals on the ground. (3 of our nice mares aborted within seven (7) days of adminstering the west nile; PK+1B and Worming with Rotectrin wormer. GO FIGURE! (May 11th 2003 another Wormer/Strongid and also admistered Prestige5 shots) however I did NOT give the West Nile booster shots (still in my fridge) Don't know if I will give them at this point (with good reason) I do believe that Fort Dodge MUST COME CLEAN ~ and speak the truth! If the shots are causing adverse reactions ~ we as consumers have a right to know!!!!
RH Neb.
I have had problems getting my mares in foal/ keeping them pregnant, and the only thing different that I have done is the West Nile vaccines this year! My World Champ bred mare was in foal, and I gave the second WN, and now she is not! Another Paint mare I had and recently sold does not look pregnant the gal said and she will be getting her checked. If she's not, well.......... same as the others. Outside mares that have come in are not all settling, yet my studs have always settled mares. All mares have been vaccinated for WN, but some long before being bred, some around the time of being bred received boosters. I do have an Arab mare for my little girl who was bred earlier, about 2 months before giving the WN, and she is still in foal, BUT, after reading the posts about the deformities, will hers be deformed? I pray not as my 4 yr old daughter is VERY excited about a baby! And my red dun QH mare. I am now on the third try to get her bred, and if she won't take, I stop for the year as it is getting too late! One other thing, I know many breeders and they are having the same problem! Whats the difference this year????? The West Nile vaccines!
T Daves OR
I vaccinated my Andalusian mare for WNV in the beginning of her pregnancy and she had her yearly booster 6 weeks prior to her foaling date, 2 weeks later the mare suddenly went into labor with no warning. This is a mare that was being watched very closely as she is my only mare and lives at home so there is no chance at all that I missed some signs. She delivered 25 days early the filly was a dummy foal with ears curled and tongue hanging out, But my daughter and I gave her 24 hour a day feedings and after 8 days of struggling she went down hill and had to be put down, upon autopsy the vet found this filly was missing approximately 3 inches of intestine. Will I vaccinate her again? NO!! She is due to be ultrasounded again in a few days to see if the rebreeding has taken. The vet bills for this lost baby were $ 3000.00 not to mention the emotional loss.
Phancy Philly
I have an Andalusian mare that has had 2 previous foals with no problem. This year I gave her a West Nile shot (she had had her 2 initial boosters last spring) approx when she was due to foal. About 1 week to 10 days after, she showed all signs of foaling including an elongated vulva and actually laid down full out, trembling. She didn't foal at that time. Vulva resumed normal size and no other signs of impending parturition. 10 days after that (she was at 367 days) she foaled what appeared to be a stillborn. The bag was not disturbed at all. Filly was huge and appeared normal and shouldve been able to at least tear the bag at some point. Mare passed placenta with no problem and it appeared normal. Did not send filly or placenta in for testing. Everyone says it was fescue as mare was late and it didn't appear to get out of the bag. We werent there at the time of birth but were within 10 minutes. Pasture mare is on is probably 98% brome/bluegrass and I have never seen a horse eat fescue unless they have no choice, especially if brome and bluegrass are available. Mare had good milk at time of birth and was not late in her gestation with previous 2 foals. West Nile stillbirth? Maybe. All I know is it cost me $ 10,000 in a lost foal.
S. Fisher
I have a mare that has had 3 healthy foals. She herself is healthy and a team penner point earner .( She is a QH )She is 14 years old. I sent her to the breeder's May 2003 to be bred. At this point she had never missed a cycle. She was covered and when she did not cycle back, the breeder had her ultrasounded and the US showed the she was absorbing the foal. She had a 3cm follicle at that time on the other side and we thought she would cycle back.Weeks later, she still has not cycle; She had received the WN vaccine in May and June. I suspect that there may be a link between the vaccine and her breeding problems and the absorbtion of the zygote.
Vanessa , Greenfield, OH
Hello, I was sent the URL to your site by a friend. We realize WN is here to stay but our fears of using a vaccine that, at the time, was on trial are proving to be founded. To date we have vaccinated one stallion ... period ... and thats only because he is at our trainers. Since he is still in training we bred only one mare to him and fortunately she conceived. We're expecting 10 foals next year and Ill danged if we lose any of them because of a defective vaccine. Instead, we've chosen to try and reduce the number of breeding grounds for mosquitoes on our ranch, using an all natural mosquito inhibitor in the ponds, and spraying our horses with the old tried and true fly repellent.
Thank you for making this information available. Hopefully, all of the research will reach a conclusion sooner than later...for our horses and foals sakes.
Aletha, TX
We too have experienced some problems this year with foaling. However, so far no loss of foal or mare. The mare was pasture bred in mid-July of 2002, a quarter horse mare to our Suffolk Punch Stallion. She had delivered one other of this cross the year before with no problem. We are breeding for sport horses and using mares with speed, agility and an aptitude for jumping, as the stallion also has an aptitude for jumping. This year we started vaccinating for WNV. The first shot was given on 4/17/03, the mare was due to foal around the middle of June. The second shot was given 6/15/03, the mare showed signs of being close, but did not give us the same signs she did the first time. Since this was just her second foal I didnt think too much about it, however, she foaled at about 4 in the afternoon on the 6/16/03, with no pre-warning signs. She had an extremely hard delivery, the foal was stressed. He was large, which is what we attributed the tough delivery too. However, the mare did not recover quickly as she should have, she retained the placenta for much longer than she should have and kept going down and straining. We were beginning to think she was having twins. For more than 3 hours after the foal was born she kept getting up but couldnt stay on her feet long enough for the colt to suck. Her legs would just buckle. She seems to be doing okay now, we are giving her extra care and the colt is doing okay, although it took three days before he started trying to run and play. The mare would take walks around the corral she is in on a regular basis, appearing to be trying to get her foal to get up and exercise. Thank you for making this situation public and available to us common folk, that have a small breeding operation. We may not have the money involved that the big breeders do, but we have just as much invested in time, energy and emotion.
Kathleen A.
Hello! Thank you for your efforts to learn about WNV adverse effects. I have vaccinated 10 mares at various stages of pregnancy (most over 4 months along to term,) with no adverse effects. However, I am wondering if you have had anyone report problems with their young stallions? I have a yearling stallion who was born completely normal (his full brother was 5th at the World in halter last year,) but at 7 months old (2 weeks after being vaccinated) he became extremely ataxic, mimicing a wobbler; dragging his toes and losing coordination in his hind end. When he runs he looks like a race horse with string halt problems?! I also purchased a 2 year old stallion who started moving exactly the same after being vaccinated with FD WNV. Neither lost muscle mass or had any other neuological problems, just can't function correctly in their hind end. You can imagine trying to breed with this older one is frustrating with his lack of coordination in his hind end. I am hoping that this is just mere coincedence as I hesitated to use FD WNV this year, but have done all 30 horses here and 10 mares in to be bred- (just vx Monday finally.) I will keep your address to report any oddities from this vx!?
I had booked my mare to a very nice, & reasonably expensive stallion, in 2001. Can't remember the vaccination dates, but believe 1st shot in Mar & 2nd in April. My mare was sent to the clinic each month (Mar & April) & I had to pay for double semen shipments each month, yet I could not get the mare in foal. The stallions motility was excellent, & he had settled mares that year - but not mine. In May, I got desperate, thinking there might be something wrong w/my otherwise healthy Arab mare. I talked to a nearby trainer who had a stallion @ his barn & asked if he thought it might be a nice cross - he advised yes. So, I had to ship my mare to his place to have her teased & then ship her & the stallion to the vet clinic for collection & insemination. They collected him once & she settled immediately. This all cost me a lot of money for all the collections, inseminations & stays at the clinic. Although I got a lovely filly, I didn't get the breeding I wanted which I am relatively certain would have produced an even finer foal. I can't afford to breed to the original stallion because I lost so much the first time around - though they are willing to let me try as soon as I can afford as I have a booking fee involved. It had seemed so weird that she took so quickly to the second stallion, but after reading the other articles I suspect the WNV may have played a part. I am also curious if this could have had an effect on my filly's health - she has had a touch of wobblers (although seems to be improving) as well as a bone cyst that has caused lameness in her back end. Both of these, esp. the wobblers, are a bit unusual to find in the Arabian breed - and my vet says he only sees her kind of cyst very rarely & prominently in warmbloods/thorobreds - NOT THE ARABS. I now wonder if the vaccination played a part in this too. I guess I should count my blessings that she was not born w/some of the deformities I now have read about. Shouldn't someone (manufacturer) be held accountable with the mounting evidence - I suspect that any vet would only have considered this safe if the manufacturers led them to believe so. Thank you for your articles & time. If there is anymore I can do to help, please let me know.
Respectfully, L. H. Nelson
My healthy six year old mare was due to deliver her fourth baby on May 3, 2002, but aborted it on February 8, 2003. Yes, she was vaccinated for WNV. I immediately called the owner/breeder of the stallion who is the prior owner of this mare. She was a vet tech and is my friend and horse advisor. She said she had heard of six or seven others this year and that was an unusually high number of abortions. I asked if they were out of her stallion and she said mine was the only one from him so we began brainstorming and immediately thought of the West Nile Virus. Coincidentally, we are located in Texas and thes seven of eight mares were in the path of the shuttle.... so we even threw that idea around. But then lost foals were popping up all over the country. Regrettably, the foal had been drug off by something and it took a day to find it and it had too much damage to recover and take for necropsy. I did take the mare in for flushing and tetnus and general breeding soundness exam and everything was normal and she's healthy. She was vaccinated again and bred in May 2003. We'll see. I do want to note that I did not give the 5,7,9 pnuemabort shots to my mare while pregnant and that was what the vet initially blamed for the abortion. She was also past wormed one week prior to aborting. She was eating the same food and hay throughout the pregancy and the other horses there are all healthy. She was the only pregnant mare on the farm. I called the about the shuttle explosion first. I had a return call from the Texas Department of Agriculture within hours. He said I was the first to call, we exchanged information. I inquired with him about the WNV and he said he has not had any calls about an unusual number of lost foals or any inquiries to date of the WNV suspicion. Was I first???? I don't know but I also emailed Fort Dodge and got a return email thanking me for the info. I was suprised long after this to hear that there were no reports of this????? What happened to my report?
Joyce Ellis, Magnolia, TX
I live in Washington and vaccinated all of my horses (11), even my breeding stallions starting in January of 03. Two of my vaccinates were pregnant mares. One a BLM mustang mare and the other a pinto pony mare. They both have had healthy breeding stock fillies BUT, since vaccinating all of my other horses, my breeding stallions are not settling ANYTHING and my other mares are not getting bred. The only thing different is being vaccinated for West Nile. We have had several foals in my neighborhood die, one was still born, one died 12 hours after birth, one didnt get out of the sac and the other one, the mare coliced and the vet had to do a c-section. The foal wasnt right and died 1 week later. I will never vaccinate for WN again until proven safe. As with most of you, I too have lost money with empty mares and sterile stallions. I have asked the local vet about this and he says he hasn't heard anything negative about the vaccine.
Wendy D., Oakville, Washington.
A friend vaccinated her mares last fall, 2 were in foal, approximately 4 months into their pregnancies. One was a maiden, the other, her dam, had foaled many times without difficulty. They both apparently aborted and came back into heat within a month of the vaccination. They had both been checked safe in foal at 3 months, neither had been sick, there had been no changes in feed or their enviornment. The only change was that they had been vaccinated. I now own one of the mares and we are waiting to see if either of them have settled for this year, both have been rebred.
S.L. Voyles
I have been breeding Paints on a small scale for 20 years. I bred four of my own mares last year and vaccinated for West Nile in Sept and Oct. First foal, born in March, was normal; second foal, a beautiful overo filly, was stillborn at 327 days; third foal was normal; fourth foal was born at 345 days, was very small, couldnt stand or nurse on his own. His front legs were very crooked, with the right one being contracted and the left splaying out. The vet, an experienced equine specialist, could not get a nasogastric tube in, so we couldn't tube feed him. We bottle fed for 30 hours but he developed an infection and was humanely destroyed. The diagnosis was that he was dismature due to the fact that the mare was older (20.) This mare has had 8 foals for us, all healthy and very straight legged. None of the outside mares that we bred to our stallions had any problem. The dam of the first foal kicked him and broke his femur, he has about a 50-50 chance of being sound, so we only have one healthy colored colt to show for this years foaling season. I vaccinated both stallions in the fall also, so don't know if their fertility was affected or not. They settled all their mares this spring.
Jone D.,Washington state
First of all, I want to commend the organizers of the Lost-Foals-Group website. Although the information is most distressing, it is great that this information is being shared among breeders. I am a small breeder who thought that I was well-informed, yet had no idea of this controversy until today. I fear that the link between WNV and reproduction problems/lost foals may be all too real. Only after reading the information contained on the site today did what I experienced last year begin to make some sense. Last year I bred two mares who were successfully settled in early June. My vet administered WNV vaccinations (initial and booster) shortly thereafter. One mare lost her pregnancy very early on (in fact, when ultrasounded at 18 days post-conception, the vet said she didn't like the look of the embryo and was certain that the mare was absorbing it). The other mare's embryo looked great when ultrasounded, so I figured everything was okay. Needless to say, neither mare carried her pregnancy to full term. Probably a good thing. Although the first mare is an older maiden mare, I was still a little surprised that she didn't carry the foal to full term. I was very surprised when the other mare -- my most prolific broodmare -- lost her pregnancy. Still, I chalked it all up to bad luck. Until now. Here in Florida, horse owners are stuck between a rock and a hard place. The mosquitoes are bad, so we pretty much have to vaccinate to protect our horses from mosquito-borne diseases like encephalitis and WNV. Lest, we face the terrible consequences of not vaccinating. Still, in 2001, I was uncomfortable with the experimental status of the WNV vaccine, so I decided to not vaccinate and take my chances. Lo' and behold, one of my best mares contracted the disease, but being strong as an ox she pulled through just fine. However, with that scare, I decided not to take any chances in 2002 and, thus, vaccinated my herd. Boosters were given again earlier this year -- not knowing what I know now. The choices now seem to be: 1) vaccine and don't bred, or 2) breed and don't vaccinate. Great! This is a real bummer. With the real possibility that the vaccine is causing reproduction-related problems, coupled with its efficacy being questionable, a serious dilemma is created. Fortunately, WNV has not proven to be a problem this year in north Florida -- yet.
Thanks again for posting this valuable information.
BRM in Florida
I was emailed this website from a fellow breeder. I have a remarkably similar story to all of the ones before me. I had a mare have a stillborn baby on 4-17 (early) after giving her the west nile vaccine on 3-30 (30 days prior to scheduled foaling). She never did breed back this year. I had another mare resorb her foal (bred 3-13) after giving her the vaccine. She ultrasounded in foal and then when I had her palpated 45 days later, no baby. This has cost me alot of money in cooled semn shipping fees plus two open mares for 2004. Very discouraging.
CGS in Florida
I have visited your website and I just have to send this in.... I have not lost a foal, but I lost my stallion after giving the west Nile vaccine... Six days after giving the WNV, My stallion came down with a fever and a loss of appetite... Then the next day laminitis... We sent him to the local clinic and they put him on Iv's. He remained with a high fever, laminitis and diarra.... He was at the clinic for seven days.... We did a blood test on him for the west nile and it came back negative, but so did all the other tests.... This was the only vaccine that was given at that time.... We brought him home from the clinic and had the ferrier do corrective shoeing by the advice of our vet... Three weeks later, he was down in the stall and couldn't get up... After fighting for his life for almost a month, my stallion lost his fight. I don't know for sure what killed my stallion.... But, you can bet that I'll take my chances and not vaccinate for the WNV. I feel like I killed my stallion by giving the vaccine... All of the stories that have been sent in make me feel my pain all over again.
Sincerely, Darcy B
Hi, we vaccinated our stallion this year in may 2003. He has always been the gentlest of stallions. He is 9yrs old a beutiful black and white medicine hat. We had been riding him, and were hoping to start team roping with him. Last year we did not vaccinate as I was cautious about the new WNV shots. However I lost a mare to WNV last year and this year decided to vaccinate starting with our stallion. I decided to wait to do our mares until after they foaled (good thing I did). The mares will NOT be getting vaccinated! Our loving, gentle, easy to handle stallion who has never NEVER had a skinny day in his life is now "ribby" and AGGRESSIVE, he litterrally charges at his fencing to any other horse near it. He's never been behind elec. fencing, he's even been out with our mares and babies in the pasture as part of the herd. He's now behind a high voltage fencer. It took us over a year to pay for him, he is our pride and joy we've grown very attached to him and love him very much. He used to like to have his butt scratched and ears scratched and liked love and hugs. Currently I'm not riding him, I'm afraid to. Fort Dodge and I have a bone to pick.!!! I pray this wears off.
Kris in Oklahoma
Ms Riskey Business foaled March 17, 1999 a beautiful homozygous stud colt. She had her previous annual shots before breeding and received her 5, 7, 9, shots before foaling. Colt and mare were both in good shape. (of course, wormings were all up-to-date as well) Bred her back and she foaled a beautiful black/white filly April 4, 2000. Annual shots, wormings etc. Bred her back and she foaled a black/white homozygous stud April 16, 2001 which we begain standing for a few mares this year. Annual shots, worming etc. Bred her back and she slipped her foal February 3, 2003. We could not find the foal....but she had not cleaned up and we nearly lost her. She had had her usual annual shots, worming, etc. plus we had given the West Nile shots. First one was given July 17, 2002 and the second follow up August 7, 2002. This mare has always been healthly, not problems in carrying or birthing. Her foals have been desired each year and we have always sold her foals first.
Terry & Deany C.
Hello my name is Sarah. I am not a breeder. But I had rescued a mare and her baby from a slaughter sale in April of 2001. The baby was about 1 month old. In July of 2001 the vet had come out to give them both there shots and to check and see if our mare had been breed back or not so we knew what we were getting into with her. Sure enough she was and 3 months along. When they did all of there shots the vet had explained to us about the WNV. With the thought of either of them getting this we had decided to get that shot for both of them too. Well, about 3 weeks later she lost the baby. Like with anything else there is no way for me to be sure that this is what caused it. But for a horse that had been through everything that she had been through and held on to that baby that long for her just to up and loose it. My first thought was it was that shot but I could never say for sure. Now with all of the other things I have read on your site, I am thinking that it was.
I have 3 mares that always take the first time bred, and this year neither of them did. They had the WNV shots after they had already been covered. I know it isnt my stud because 3 mares have been confirmed in foal. I have them scheduled for another ultrasound to make sure they still are in foal. WA

Hi, You have another one of my posts already listed, this is kind of an update for it. I vaccinated all of my horses on March 27th for WNV, along with their regular vaccines. I only had one mare due this year, but several broodmares being bred to my stallion. The mares that were bred prior to getting vaccinated came up open when ultrasounded 2 months later, and even after several re-breedings they still won't settle. I have 3 mares who were bred after getting vaccinated and they were confirmed in foal. The pregnant mare wasn't due until June 28th, but she foaled early, on fathers day. It was her second foal, and unusually born at around 7pm. The cord didn't break, and the placenta was pulled out of the mare while the foal tried to stand. Not saying the vaccine caused it but she had a perfect delivery the year before. As of today, (June 26), they are both fine. I did have one other mare who was vaccinated late summer/early fall last year for WNV, and she aborted her foal in February, a little over a month early.
Name with-held WA

We raise miniature donkeys, miniature horses and morgan horses. Last year we bred 14 mares and jennys. The jennys havent had a problem as of yet. We had a 100% bred and still have 4 to foal. We only bred one morgan mare and seem to have a healthy 2 week old colt. But...........the miniatures have taken a beating. We bred 5 mares all proven producers all with live foals last year. The mares were vacinated close to the time of rebreeding last year twice. I haven't revacinated yet this year. Late october one of the mares aborted their foal. we didn't post the fetus just assumed it was going to happen sooner or later. This spring we had another little mare come up empty. The biggest tragedy is a mare that had a foal 5 days ago and his front legs are so deformed he can hardly walk. I really dont know what to do for him. He has a strong will to live and is moving around and nursing well. It is so sad to see. In 26 years we have never had an aborted foal or any thing born with legs that are this twisted. IN
I have a mare that was checked in foal last year, about August. I bred late for some dumb reason. My horses always receive their yearly stuff in January so she got all her vaccines including WNV in January. However, I now find out she is no longer in foal. She is healthy and did not have a sick day the whole time. I only have 6 acres so I would have seen it if she had foaled a early dead fetus. Arkansas
Autopsy line in Ky
As I was waiting inline with a dead filly to have her autopsied,I noticed that I was one of many with dead animals.So,I went looking,just to talk and see what everyone had.To my amazement,many were bringing in dead foals and some mares W/foals.All had the same story,WN shots?? most all said yes. One had lost 7 in 2 wks.,we had lost 5 in a week.Does the Diagnostic centers report their findings ?? Have we had our property checked,just to be sure there is not something here causing this.You bet,.2 years in succession. will I administer WN this year.diffently not.Some have had them already and we will see if next year brings the same results,if we can keep the pregnant that is.
I have a very healthy mare that has never had a problem carring a baby to full term, the only thing I have done differently this time was administer the WNV booster 3 days prior to the abortion date. TX
When West Nile hit hard in Florida we vaccinated 4 pregnant mares. All four have never had problems but three of them aborted after the shots. Our vet says they weren't the only ones and she refuses to give WN shots to pregnant mares no matter what month they are in. FL
YES - West Nile shots will make your mares abort!!!!!!!! We had three abort the first year that WN ran rampent here in Florida, only one retained her foal. Our vet WILL NOT administer WN boosters to any mare that is in foal or might be in foal. FL

Posts 7/2/03
Hi, I have two mares, full sisters from a dam who was a lifelong easy breeder, who NEVER suffered from abortions, deformities or any breeding problems EVER. My two mares were both maiden last year, but each was confirmed in foal after two inseminations, then given the West Nile vaccine in August and again in September. One mare aborted this year at eight months gestation and the other had a lovely foal who is very over at the knee, and will probably require surgery to correct the problem. He is the fourth generation I have owned and raised, with no similar problems previously in the lineage. Could be a coincidence, or maybe it isn't.
(Name with-held)
All of this is really making sense now. I started giving the WNV in summer of 2002. Of my 18 miniature broodmares that I bred in 2002, I had two live foals. All of my other mares turned up open?? Of the two foals, one was weak, and had a cleft palate and could not nurse properly. He died within 24 hours. I just vaccinated 3 mares before turning them out to pasture. One is a wonderful yellow dun mare that I bred this year to a cremello stallion that we borrowed for the spring. I wonder what kind of monster she might have next year. I also have a couple of young mares that will not get bred. One is my favorite little mare whom has been in heat continuously since May. Thats about 3 months now. I hate to think that this vaccine, with its expesive price tag to begtin with , has cost so many breeders lots of money. I have always trusted the Fort Dodge products and preferred to use them over other brands because they were so gentle. If fort dodge does not make good on this probelm,, I say we all boycott them.
R Gilbert, Natalia, TX
I also realized today that the ONLY foal I had live this year was by a wild mini mare that I never did vaccinate this spring. I decided to wait until the foal was weaned. And like a dummy I vaccinated her with the WNV Vaccine last week when I turned her out to pasture.
I am a small breeder of Tennessee Walking horses and Spotted Saddlehorses. I had a nice proven stud with several good foal crops on the ground. I owned a son of his I had at stud, and have third generation offspring from him. In the fall I sold him to a neighbor and retained some breeding seasons. I took my unvaccinated mare to him this spring. And again. And again. Yesterday she is cycling again. I found out that the stallion I sold has settled none of the nine mares he has been bred to this year, including the two that live in the pasture with him. And guess what. The new owner had vaccinated the stud and his mares against West Nile. This is a nice horse who was really doing well endurance racing, and has put nice tempered, pretty, useful foals on the ground for years. I hope he will recover for next year. For now I have to order shipped semen, and go thru all the vet bills for AI, as do the other mare owners. I am going to ask for sure if the stallion I buy semen from is vaccinated, and his current conception rate. A friend pointed me to this web site yesterday. And I am not going to vaccinate my mares that havent been, and will stop vaccinating my other two.
Thanks for your website. Julia S, Pennsylvania
(Updated 7/03/03) Dear Lost Foals,I had written yesterday about my stud who went sterile after his new owner gave him the West Nile shot. Well, I checked and the foal I lost last year from what the vet said was botulism died within twenty-four hours of his dam having her West Nile shot or booster. He was fine in the evening and down and unresponsive at morning feeding time. His dam was waiting by the door to go out with the other horses. She had already given up on him, and she is a doting Mom. The vet tube fed him but he didn't rouse even with warm milk in his tummy and I felt I did not want to draw things out, so I asked the vet to euthanize him. He was a really pretty champagne color Tennessee Walker colt, very walky, with a natural loose free gait. A treat to watch. My friend who I had him boarded with found a second foal down a week later, once again within twenty-four hours of the booster for his dam. She is on I think her sixth generation of her breeding program, and is one of those people who are always working to improve each generation. All the foals were imprinted and handled daily. So it was a real shock to have two keel over and we were holding our breath worrying about the rest of the foals. The second foal was driven in a pickup to the vet, and roused and was pulled thru with a lengthy and expensive stay at the veterinary clinic. She did not give any West Nile shots this year, despite our vets saying the shots are safe. I am breeding my few mares to produce superior breeding stock, and do not want to risk foals which will have reproductive problems when they are breeding age, let alone risk another foal dying. General was a pert active little guy until his dam got her booster. I feel I may have protected him to death. After a friend pointed me to your web site yesterday I made the connection. There is a verdict in Scotland, "not proven". The shot could, yes could, be OK and the two foals going sour overnight could, yes could, be a coincidence, but I will play it safe with my horses.
Julia S, Pennsylvania
After viewing your site, I am thoroghly regretting giving my mare her WN Shots this spring. She was vaccinated 30 days before foaling. While I was lucky and she did deliver an normal foal with no complications (30 days old now) I however have be unlucky with trying to re-breed her. Her foal scoured while she was supposedly in her foal heat yet she show absolutely no signs of being in heat and when she was put with the stallion turned aggressive. Being that she's a first-time mom and that she's quite protective of her foal we thought that may have been the reason for her to miss her heat cycle. So we gave her a shot to bring her in to no avail and now it is time for her 30 day heat cycle and still no sign of anything. I have my fingers crossed that its just a fluke and all will be fine but after reading your stories from other breeders I am getting very worried. You see, Josie is my only horse and I bought her after being horseless for several years and I will be devastated if this vaccine has an adverse affect on my lovely 4-year old. Thank you for allowing me to share my fears.
Jolene in ND
A friend of mine sent me this site, and after reading it, I think maybe last year is explained. If so, I offer hope.
I have a very nice 1998 QH stallion. In 2002, I vaccinated him for everything, including WNV in April, as I was sending him off to the trainer. I also risked turning him out with a couple mares of mine that I didnt mind being bred, as he was pacing his pen and didnt want to be alone. He is very non-studdy, and didnt seem to interested in breeding anything, so I wasnt too shocked when nothing here came up pregnant. He was sent to the trainer early in may.vvHe recieved his booster shot right before we shipped semen on his first mare (late May). His semen was good, shipped well (over 60% motility upon arrival), but the mare didn't concieve, in 2 shipments. I didnt think too much of the shipped semen event, as the vet there told me that some stallions just dont have good conception rates via shipped semen, no matter what the motility was. So I just wrote it off. However, I was discouraged that He settled NO MARES in 02.. his first breeding season!! I braced myself this year, fearing problems with conception via shipped semen, and I had a HUGE demand for it. I am pleased to say that he has had a 100% conception rate this year with both live cover and AI. The only difference I can see is that he didnt get his WNV this year. We still use the same semen extender... the mares that are his pasturemates are the same mares as last year, and all are now in foal.. and he still acts as uninterested and non-studdy as ever. It might just be coincedence, but I thought I'd offer hope to those who fear their stallions are sterile do to the vaccine. If WNV caused my stallions problems last year... he HAS recovered, so maybe there's hope for those of you are experiencing problems.
~~Tracy S
Hi. I live in WA state. I lost a beautiful bay QH stud colt. I vaccinated for WNV in the fall of 2002. I repeatedly asked my vet if the vaccine was o.k. for bred mares. He said yes. Two mares were vaccinated with two shots six weeks apart (one belonged to my mom). I purchased a 2 bred mares that did not have any vaccinations. In the spring I revaccinated 3 mares and my mom didnt give her mare the shot. The mare that had all three shots lost her foal. It was upsidedown, my vet said it had been dead for a little while. The mares who only got a single spring shot and my moms mare all had healthy live foals. A friend e-mailed me a letter from Fort Dodge stating that the vaccine had not been tested on preg mares and was not o.k.d for them. Why then are all the vets in the country believing that its o.k.? I had waited for that lost foal for three years and then lost it. I almost lost the mare and now she is unbreedable as she tore her cervix giving birth. My mares are not cycling right at all. I thought it was the goofy weather we were having. After seeing this site, I blame the WNV vaccination. I feel sick that I caused the death of my prized foal by believing the vets and giving into the fear of the disease. Thank You for making this site.
Hello, I had a friend send me your web site since one of my stallions have al but gone sterile since I gave him the west nile vaccine, I spoke to my vet and he assured me that he has not heard anything about that type of effect!! I say Bull crap, I can almost narrow it to exactly the time of the shots. What exactly is fort dodges problem? I think they are afraid of being sued! which they rightly should be if in fact they were careless enough to put their product on the market for profit with out going threw the proper channels, I have an awesome bred stallion who can not get the last mares of the season in foal. I sure never purchased him and had him trained professionally at a cost that about made me mortgage my house to have a gelding! Please keep in touch with me and tell me where I can inform others.
Thanks so Much, Kelle K.
I own a small herd of seven miniatures. Rangeing from 12 years to 3 months. Last year I gave my mare that was about 9 or 10 months along WNV shot. She foaled a healthy foal May 15 2002. She was never givin a booster till after the filly was born. She was bred repeatedly that spring and into summer and never settled. This year she was bred 2 times before she was confirmed pregnant. She NEVER had the shot this year. After reading all the stories my girls will not be getting their shots.
April K. West Plains Missouri
Hello, I have noticed something quite odd with my horses this year a few weeks after after the WNV vaccinations.. They all has been experiencing swollen gutteral pouches..(some more than others) I have had the worst one examined at Texas A&M Large Animal Hospital.. and the attending vet could give no explaination of the problem.. A couple of the mares have puffed so big they looked like chipmunks with their cheeks full of nuts. There is no drainage and endoscoping the mares showed that it was apparently just air in the pouches.. ?? However odd and co-incidental it may be ..something is going on that defies explaination.. The vets said this was an unknown and that having it occur in a group was unheard of.. Just thought to add this experience to the data base.. two Arabian mares that have shown the greatest amount of swelling are in foal and we hope for the best..
Allen P. Austin Tx.
We are a small breeding farm in utah, we were told around here WNV shots would be required this year in 2003. We went ahead and had all our geldings, stud and stud colts done we have not had a problem with them although we had three of our AAA proven running mares, one of witch held the state record here in utah for several years we have had troubles with them from the date them shots were recived, one mare has foaled for three years straight this year we cannot get her to take, also her cycles are all screwey...the other mare aborted her foal and we have not got her in foal of the three mares is in foal, but after seeing others storys we are scared to see what will come!! We have two Race bred appaloosa mares that foaled late this year we did not give them shots, thay were going to be reciving them next month both of these mares toulk rite away same as always, never a problem we fill everyone needs to see these storys!! everyone who breeds knows what kind of money you put into these mares to assure a healthy foal not to mention all the other fees along with it.
Name with held
Hello, I received a forward from a friend of mine that knows of my hardships these past couple years, regarding your website. As horrible as the information is, it gave me a little peace of mind as I finally was able to realize that after 10 years of breeding AQHA halter and performance horses, that the past couple years of foaling, and breeding problems were not all my fault. I began hearing about West Nile affecting my area and decided that it was worth the cost to vacc. my broodmares, stallions, and show string. I started with 14 mares being ultrasound in foal for early and late spring of 2002. I lost one mare, double vacc for West Nile, to West Nile and foaled out 9 out of 14 mares with one foal death at 2 weeks of age due to an umbilical infection (even though she was treated when born and the few following days and showed none of the typical signs of infection) and left my vet is strange. I sold one open mare in EARLY 2003 that was a breed association point producer, thinking that if she was ultra sounded in 2002 at 14 and again at 60 days, she must not be sound to breed. I sold her that way and we all know what must have happened to her....Dumb, that mares life was ended due to an untested in broodmare/pregnant mare vacc. Breeding my mares back in 2002 for 2003 was hell. None of my mares came back into a good heat and I had to have the vet out several times to tell me and my stallion (who was also vacc for WNV) what was going on. 3 to 5 heat cycles later, I caught only two of my own mares out of 10 (that were vacc) and only 5 outside (I do not know there vacc status). I had my stallions semen tested late in spring of 2002 and was told that he was way low....only 30% viable. In Dec of 2002, months following the vacc....he was back up to 50+%. When test cooled again in March of 2003 following his Fort Dodge (all my horses received Fort Dodge.....) West Nile Booster, was back down to 15%. When you count on outside and shipped semen to make a living...turning those people away, kills you...And you can not figure out why! Now I know! Of my two mares that stuck, one filly was born and the placenta did not detach like normal...I found her after about a half hour of birth, cut the cord that was as thick if not thicker that my wrist...and bottle fed her every 2 hours, (1500.00 of vet care included) for about a week and a 1/2 before I lost her. Heart Ache city! My other WNV colt, as I call him, was born with his lower mandible deformed.... You could almost call it parrot mouth, even though neither parent have it, but my vet said his lower gums just didn't form.... One filly out of a stallion that was not vacc for West Nile but the mare was, came down with an umbilical infection after she was a week old...I caught it due to the following years ouch, and treated it, so she lived....but....My vet calls it really bad luck, but know I know better. Well, I wish I would have know sooner, but all my critters were boostered with Fort Dodge West Nile Vacc in 2003 and 3600.00 in vet bills later, I am just getting my mares (4 heat cycles into there season, and in the beginning of July, 2003) to cycle like they should (maybe, I am crossing my fingers...ultrasound coming due tomorrow.) and that is quite a bit late for halter babes. But when that is what you live for and on.....what can you do? I will no longer Vacc or recommend Vacc for West Nile until proven safe for breeding animals. Thank you for listening and I hope this year finds you well.
Heres a refreshing email received 7/02/03.
A registered veterinary technician speaks about WNV.
Hello, Just wanted to clarify something on your a registered veterinary technician who has seen several West Nile Virus infected horses in practice, I just want to set the record straight that most adult horses affected do NOT need to be put down. Most survive treatment with no side effects. The "at risk" horses in our communities are the very young and very old. This is why I chose NOT to vaccinate my pregnant mares this year. Also.....most horses (almost 90%) that are exposed to the West Nile Virus will never show symptoms of the disease or become ill.
Thank you for your forum, Holly K,, RVT
Posts for 7/03/03
I was horrified upon reading your website. We have never had problems with breeding our mares or having them carry to term. We have had horrible problems since starting our horses on the WNV in 4/02. All four of our mares delivered small foals. One foal had problems nursing and had extremely crooked legs. One of our mares bagged up and started leaking milk days after receiving a booster in 1/03. She carried the foal for 35 more days and delivered him at 312 days. He had hardly an hair, curled ears, could not stand on his own and had crooked front legs. He made it but has had several health problems. He also developed stomach ulcers and Diarrhea 10 days after we vaccinated him for WNV in May. Our vet does not know what would have caused it as he has been pastured in the same field and on the same feed as our other colts. The mares did not cycle normally on their foal heat. They were all late and stayed in for an extended period of time. All the foals had severe diarrhea within 2 days of being born and another severe bout during the time their dams should have been cycling. We got two mares bred back without any problems. One of the other mares was bred 3 times before she settled and then we sold her. She never would stand for the stallion and was extremely aggressive towards him. She was an extremely easy breeder the year before. The other mare who is our easiest breeder, has never had foaling problems or breeding problems. She absorbed her first foal. We did get her bred on the second try and she is now 45 days. We bred two outside mares after we gave our stallion WNV and neither of them have settled. He has always had an excellent conception rate. We foaled out a mare for some friends who gave their mare WNV after breeding her this spring. The mare carried long and the filly had contracted tendons in the hind pasterns. The filly straightened out. One outside mare we were trying to breed was purchased at a sale. She was bred in 2002 and vaccinated for WNV. She did not have a foal in 2003. She had ten previous live foals. She was vaccinated again this spring and we have not been able to settle her. We bred her once about 2 months after our stallion was vaccinated. She was extremely easy to breed had a normal cycle and did not settle. We brought her back into heat, gave her WNV vaccine booster and she became extremely aggressive towards the stallion even though she was showing a good follicle and was soft upon ultrasound examination. We will definitely be doing more research before vaccinating our horses for WNV. We have emailed this website to everyone we know with horses!
Name withheld
Hello my name is Tina L., and I thought I was alone until I came across your website and I was astounded by the reports from so many people with similar cases. I too had a horrible experience with losing a long awaited baby. My mare Bailey had been fighting an injury for nearly two years so I decided to have her bred and let her raise a baby while she had time off. I found a gorgeous bay roan stud to breed her to since I could not breed her back to our stud which was her dad. I had her check at 16 days and she showed to be in foal. Later in the year I vacinated all of my barrel horses and her and I believe that was about September 2002. Her belly grew and you could see the baby move around so we ussumed everything was fine. Now let me back up a minute I have other mares also which I did not give the vacine too, finances just did not allow us to do them also so we just took our chances. Back to Bailey now she was due April 24 and believe me I was chomping at the bit with nerves waiting on this baby. Then I started noticing about two week before she foaled that she looked like she did not feel good. I just thought it was because it was her first foal and that she was so big. I kept a close eye on her watching for anything to go wrong and it did. On the 22nd of April this year I noticed she was not up with the other mares so I went looking for her, I found her at the back of the pasture just standing there. Her bag was dripping milk and I got all excited knowing it was going to be any minute. I watched her lay down and then the bag appeared she pushed for a little while and then stood up again. She kept getting up and down as if something was wrong. The feet on the foal were pointing down and I could see the nose on the baby, but 20 minutes had went by and I got nervous and went to find my neighbor. When got back she had the baby hanging out half way. By the time we had walked down there too her she had completly foaled a beautiful bay roan filly. The filly looked really weak though, I kept a watch on them for about a hour and the filly was still laying down so couldn't stand any longer so tried to help the filly stand. She wanted to stand but she just was not capable of it. And then two hours passed and she still was not able to stand a nurse. I called my vet and he told me to get the baby down there as quick as I could. Not only was the baby in trouble so was my mare, she had not yet let go of the placenta. To make a long story shorter the baby died in my arms no mater what they tried. They looked at the placenta after they removed it from my mare and said that it was extremely abnormal. They said the she was septic. I believe that WN Vacine killed the baby, and let explain even more. The other mares that I told you about that I could not afford to vacinate, well lets just say they foaled just fine, with no problems at all. I believe that Fort Dodge had better do some research on what is going on here. It cost me dearly money and heartache. This does not need to happen again. I will take my chances from here on out.
Thanks Tina L, Lake Creek, Texas
I bred 5 mares last year. 1 was born healthy, 1 was born full term but weak and dam did not have a good milk supply. It was touch an go for the first couple weeks with him, but he is recovering well now. 1 foal was born 2 mos premature (stillborn wtih cranial deformity), another mare had a late term abortion at 9 mo, and one aborted at 7 months. 8 farms near me have had an assortment of problems....... red bag deliveries, weak foals, and preterm labor. The problems continue this year. Many of mares have not been able to get in foal at all. 7 of the 8 farms with problems vaccinated for WN. The one who did not: Her mares DID get a mild case of real West Nile virus. We live in the area with the highest incidence of WNV in the US most people did get the vaccine.
Christine M., New Providence PA
We hope to hear from these other farms
Hello, I have not lost a foal because the mare has not been breed. I thought you might find this interesting. Mare is a 5 yr old QH .. She was a quiet laid back Quarter Horse. She was vaccinated 3 times last yr.2002 Once in March of 2003. On May 17, 2003 mare came down with West Niles with a mild case. Was at the vet for 5 days given a Bacterium in the vein twice a day for the 5 days. Mare came home and seemed fine . On June 13 same symptoms. Back to the vet with West Niles again. This time it was more serve. At the vet for 14 days . Bacterium given but did not seem to be working. Mare was given DMSO in the vein the last 3 days at the vet. I now seem to have a flightily skidious mare. Any loud noises sudden movements she goes bonkers. I have read anything I can find. I came across an article that says horses personalities may change after having West Niles.
Jean R., MN
To whom it may concern, I was just emailed the link to your site and have to say thank you to everyone who is helping get this information out in the open. I have a small sporthorse breeding farm located in Eugene, Oregon. or should I say did. I did not do my research when everything came out with needing the WNV and ran out to vaccinate all of my horses. My breeding stallion who was my competition partner as well passed away two hours after recieving his first shot. He was in very good health and was up to date on all other vaccines, he was overly dosed daily with many imune boosting supplements (Horse Guard, Mineral Salt, MSM, Glucosamine, Biotin, Garlic, Vit. C, Herbal Immune boosters) to name a few. After recieving the shot, he was ok for about an hour and a half. Then while loose in the arena by himself he started making very pained noises and screams. I rushed out of his stall (it opened into my arena, to find him standing in the middle with nothing aparently wrong. I started to walk over to him and he began trying to walk over to me, falling in the process obviously completly off balance. When he made it to me he colapsed at my feet shaking from head to toe and died with in minutes. I was not in a finantial state to have the autopsy preformed so I had him buried not thinking it could have been the WNV until after the fact. Now I have no conclusive evidance that this is the cause but my suspisions are that it was. After going through the trauma of losing him, I now face the fact that I can not get any of the mares to settle. I have been breeding monthly since Feb. and I have had one mare take, confirmed in foal only to absorb and come back in heat the next month. All of these mares have been vaccinated for the WNV. A good friend of mine as well owns a stallion and mare (both have been vaccinated for WNV) that she had hopes of breeding this year, as she stands her stallion out. So far this year her stallion has covered five mares repetativly (three of which were vaccinated for WNV and two were not but were proven broodmares) non of which have taken. This stallion has many foals on the ground from privious seasons, before the WNV scare and vaccine. As everyone else we have no proof that directly links any of this to the WNV but in my own opinion what we have is enough. After reading your website and all the many articals written by everyone that has been effected by this I feel even more confident in my suspisions. Now is where the damage is arising with my breeding stock. I have stopped breeding all of my horses this year as they have all been vaccinated for WNV. I am selling my broodmares to non-breeding homes where they can have a loving home and job that will not be effecting there or any future foals health. I will be buying new mares and will absolutly not vaccinate for WNV again. I beleive that they need to create a vaccine that will protect from WNV but it needs much more study done before it is released to the public to cause the harm that it has created. I would like to be able to go further with this as I am left with un breedable stock with my foal crop and stallion fee being my livelyhood but I am un certain as to where I should go from here. I am sure that you are very busy with all of this happening but any information that you could help me with would be very much appreciated. I am sickened at what is happening with the effects of the WNV and would like to do everything possible to help in any way possible.
Thank you for your time and help, Laura Esty, Dare to Dream Sporthorses Eugene, OR
Sorry we where down for a couple of days. We where struck by lightning the morning of the fourth.
7/4...7/03 Posts
Two years ago I received a sorrel tobiano mare as payment for some stud service fees. She was 14 years old and at that point had had 6 foals without any problems...had been pasture bred each year that she was pregnant. I didn't breed her last year as the stallion I wanted to breed her to was not available. This mare is a granddaughter of One Gun (Res. World Ch Jr Cutting horse...sired by Mr. Gunsmoke and out of a King Command daughter) and out of an own daughter of Mister J.Bars, foundation Paint and sire of national chs. in halter and calf-roping. I sold her last summer with a stipulation that I would get one foal from her. This year I decided to use that breeding and found a homozygous son of Helter Skelter (by Lucky Straw) out of a Doc Dee Bar mare that was within hauling distance and priced within my budget. I decided to breed two mares to him...this mare and another, a breeding stock maiden, 4 years old, granddaughter of Smoke N Cotton (5th in the world in lifetime working cowhorse points and sire of a couple of world chs.) out of a double Doc Bar/Bueno Chex QH mare. I had a 50% chance of a homozygous foal from the tobiano mare and a 100% chance of a tobiano foal from the breeding stock...with the bloodlines I wanted. I decided to have the tobiano mare cultured since she had been bred before. I gave her the WN vaccine at her current owners insistance (despite no cases in NV)...first dose about 3 days prior to her coming in season. She had been cycling regularly since early March. This was the end of April. She came in season and was cultured and had the coggins drawn and health certificate filled out. The other mare did not get the WN vaccine. The tobiano mare recieved her second shot 2 weeks after the first one at the recommendation of the vet (about a week prior to her next anticipated heat cycle). The mares were hauled on a Saturday for 3.5 hours...both are used to being hauled and ride well so this should not have been a stressor for them. They were due in heat on Monday (the breeding stock mare) and Tuesday or Wednesday (the tobiano mare). The breeding stock mare came in one day late. The tobiano mare didn't come in. The breeding stock mare was bred and didn't cycle the following anticipated assumed to be pregnant. The tobiano mare was at the breeders for 6 weeks and didn't cycle the entire time. She has not shown since coming home. Both mares will be ultrsounded in about 2 more weeks to confirm the pregnancy is doing well in the one mare and to see if the other is functioning at all. This mare is now 16 years old and I don't really want to wait another year for a foal from her but it looks like I will have to do so. These mares are on the same pasture, same salt blocks, same wormer on the same schedule....all is the same except for their age, breeding history and the WN vaccine for the one. I am not a happy camper.
Just been emailed your site by two friends - wow Iam scared - I live in Alberta Canada and raise and breed horses - This is our first yr we are vaccinating - I went to two different information nights given by the Drug companies - all saying it was safe to give all horses including pregnant mare and stallions - I had a mare who was nine months along come into heat 1 month after her first shot - which meant she lost foal about 12 days before - I suspected NW shot - but mares do abort for lots of reasons .. My stud was sent away to have semen collected and froze but we chose to wait on the WN shot till he came back - so far all his mares including outside have not conceived - all have had their first ever shot and second of WN - just waiting to see if a couple other mares will coming back into heat - I will be checking into getting semen checked as we know what it was a few months ago .. I am so upset this has been going on with you folks from the USA for a long while and the Drug company knew about it - they said maybe a couple ever had a slight reaction. My heart goes out to all of you and Thanks for tells us your stories. If my stud semen count is proven to be of a lesser count of semen then a few months back I am going to sue - I am letting all my horse friendsknow of this site . But I still have a foal coming every late this year - This is going to worry me now - I will let you all know if my stud is sterile-
SM from Alberta,Canada
One of my Arabian mares recently gave birth to a beautiful colt. He did not want to get up, but being human, I knew he had to get up or he would die. My husband and I worked for an hour to get the foal up and nursing, which he did. Being dark, out in the pasture, we did not see that he was not swallowing properly, we went to bed hoping all was well. The next day I noticed my mares milk was choking him and it was coming back out of his nose, off to the vet we went. The first diagnosis was mal-adjusted foal, he would either snap out of it or not. He was intubated and the mare was milked to feed the baby by tube. Two days later he was scoped and found to have an abnormal esophageal sphincter valve. This Sweepstakes Nominated baby I had tried breeding for, took three years. He would never be a competetive athlete. We had him euthanised, our hearts are still broken. My farrier happened to mention seeing or reading something about large breeding farms suddenly having birth deformities, but the only different procedure done during the pregnancies, were the WNV vaccine. My farrier couldn't remember where he saw or read about this. I rang the Equine practice and made inquiries about increased death rates or birth defects, both were denied. Today I recieved in the mail, a flier with your web address. I sincerely hope a solution to this problem will be sooner in coming than later, before more hearts are broken and revenue lost to the breeding farms whose livelyhood depends on the foal crops each year. I contiously will not give the vaccine to my mare which was bred back yesterday but will instead be more vigilant with my mosquito control practice.
Thank you. Respectfully, Jennifer N., Sadler, Tx.
In May 2002 I bred a Holsteiner mare to a Dutch stallion for a premium (my hope) foal to start my own breeding program. I had the mare carefullly vaccinated as recommended by my traditional vet including the WNV and booster at 6 weeks prior to delivery. Right after I vac her for WNV she had an odd discharge, I called the vet who diagnosed a vaginal infection but he found nothing on scoping her. She delivered a gorgeous premium filly in April 2003 on her due date. The filly lived 48 hours dying of what the vet hospital thinks is Clostridial Bacteria, I have foaled in this same paddock with no problems, the mare had 2 previous foals, all healthy. My filly had appropriate antibody levels when checked at the vet hospital, and the mare has not caught when bred again this spring. This mare always catches the first time. The only new element... the WNV. Never again. This filly was for me, not for resale.
Please post! Sonia T, Florida.
On July 2, 2003 I had a 14 hand mammoth jennet (donkey) deliver a stillborn foal. She went a full twelve and a half months gestation. I was there throughout the entire delivery, to watch/assist. Unfortunately I buried the foal and did not have a necropsy performed. I will do that on the next one. I raise mammoth donkeys (and a couple of miniature donkeys) in Northern California. In February & March 2003 I had all 38 equines vaccinated with WNV vaccine by my veterinarian. This included all the pregnant jennets, foals and jacks. So far I have only had one stillborn (last week), but the other concern is the six remaining foals due this summer, and the difficulity getting some other jennets to come in heat. I presently have four jennets who simply will not cycle. They are teased to a variety of gelding and intact donkeys daily. No success. Still one other jennet who does come in heat has been bred three months now and will not settle. These five jennets all are under ten years of age and have had foals previously. It's now going on mid July, and I don't have a single jennet in-foal yet for next year's foal crop.
Crystal W., Placerville, CA
I have a 13 year-old Andalusian broodmare who is a PROVEN broodmare. I bred her in April, then at the advice of my vet vaccinated her for West Nile. We lost the foal 3 days later. I rebred her in May. This mare cycles about every 18 days like clockwork and has never bene a problem mare for breeding. She came in heat today (July 7th) for the first time. I am waiting on the vet right now to see if she absorbed or if she aborted so we can try to PROVE what happened.
Stacy, MI
7/8/03 Posts
I have been breeding horses for about 35 years and have owned, ridden and loved them longer than that. Last year my older gelding had a bad sunburn on his face and wasn't eating but finally one night finished his hay and I hoped he was on the mend. The next day he got the West Nile vaccination. I didnt want to give it to him but the vet said he should definitely have it too. The day after the shot, he had a fever of 102 and the next day he died. This year I gave it to my 3 broodmares 1 to 2+ months before foaling (depending on which mare were talking about) as well as twice last summer while they were in foal with their 2003 babies. 10 days after giving the WN shot this spring, one mare that was about 5 weeks away from her due date, foaled a premature baby that couldn't stand or suck and ended up dying in a couple of days, then a second mare foaled a dead colt a few days later. The third mare that was behind the other two by about 60 days as far as a due date foaled a healthy filly. The mare that had the dead foal had a hard time having it and the first vet mentioned putting her down. A second veterinarian that saw her about 6 weeks later said that eventually he thought I would have to do that too. I think she's going to be ok though. Shes eating and feels ok (except for a hitch in her getalong). She apparently has nerve damage and the worst part is she can't get up after lying down very easily. So now shes afraid to lay down. She gets better every day though, so hopefully she will be able to do that again. Of course I couldnt breed her back so you can count the loss of the foal she would have had next year on my list of losses. These mares are 7 to 9 years of age and all have previously produced healthy foals prior to the West Nile vaccinations. I will never vaccinate with the West Nile again. I know they want you to believe the vaccine wasnt the cause, but theyll never convince me. My veterinarians contribute it all to my bad luck.
~ Thank you for the chance for all of us to compare notes with each other and maybe doubt that our luck could be this bad. ~ Sandy M., CO.
I failed to mention in my previous email, that I contacted the Colorado State Veterinarian, Wayne Cunningham and he forwarded my emails with the information on my horses to the USDA. I also called Fort Dodge and they gave me the same rude runaround, it only happened to you routine that I think they gave to everyone. Thanks again, Sandy M.
hello everyone my name is Jessica and fortunately for me I did not vaccinate for the wnv virus mainly because my vet said that it was not proven enough by him to recommend vaccinating against it. However my friend did and lucky enough her foal is fine but the mare only received one shot and one booster, but since then the mare has become unruly and mean. I have let everyone I know that has a breeding horse about your website and the effects of west Nile vaccine. Here is a tip I learned to help with mosquitoes, try putting a little bit of apple cider in your horses grain or water, it does work I do this all the time and it does help get rid of fly's. I wish you all the best of luck to bad this had to happen we need to make drug companies responsible for there actions.
Jessica F., in Michigan
This site has an online report form. My stallion got a cough with in 12 hours of getting the vaccine he was fine by morning, but a friend of mine has a AQHA Sugar Bars mare get visable shakes (like HYPP but she is unrelated) 1 week after the shot. We do not know if it hapend more than one time becasue we only saw once. She is 4 and never did it before. I have reported my Stallions to the this site. I will not be getting him his second shot. He means to much to me. I already use fly sheets and spray. I will just invest in more. It is safer!
Brandice W., AZ
We raise horses in Minnesota. We run about 35-40 brood mares every year. Over the years, we have always pasture bred most of our mares and hand bred a few. We may have 1 or 2 mares come up empty. Last fall we vaccinated twice for the WNV. We had a mare abort her foal in January. Then again in April we vaccinated again for the WNV. Within a week, we had 9 mares abort their foals. All of the foals were approximately 4-6 weeks premature, some maybe 8 weeks. All of these mares that aborted their foals didn't cycle regularly or breed back. We ultrasounded 2 of the mares that aborted and neither one of them are bred. They ran in the pasture with with stallions for 8 weeks. The mares that carried their foals to term haven't cycled regularly either, but we ultrasounded 6 of them and they are bred back. We have 35+ other mares that we don't know if they are bred or not. Of the foals that we had here, 2 of them were born healthy and on the 5th day, they both died. No explanation. We sent one of the aborted foals to the University to be checked. They didn't find any rhino or other contagious diseases in the that foal. They told us that the mare had contacted a rare infection that was not contagious to the other horses and that it carried into the foal and that was why the foal aborted. They also told us that the mare had been vaccinated with the WNV. The mares that are not breeding back seem to have a watery discharge and don't cycle on a regular basis. We have quit breeding for this year and hope that the mares will breed back next year. We also have a couple of mares that seem to have had a reaction to the vaccination. One of the mares appears to be heavy. She coughs, weezes and pumps like a heavy horse. She never had any problems before we vaccinated her. The other mare pumps, coughs and weezes when she it gets hot and she is in an enclosed area. She also never had anything wrong with her prior to the vaccination. We strongly believe that all of this is directly related to vaccinating with the WNV. I believe that this vaccination will deffinately decrease the horse population. We alone lost 12 foals plus all of the foals that we will be short next year. We are only one breeder.
Kit K., MN
Posts for 7/9/03
I decided to geld my stallion, but before I did I wanted to breed him to my big appy mare. She was a 16.2 hand leopard and so was he. Both registered appies, I was hoping for a big appy to train and show dressage. The pregnanc went normal and she was nice and round and healthy. One month before the foal was born, the vet wanted to give her all her vaccines. Including the West Nile Vaccine. This was my first year using this vaccine. I had never heard about any bad reports and my vet said that the vaccine was fine. My mare was a few weeks late and I was a little worried because she showed no sign of wax. Many mares don't I guess. I had a monitor on her and could watch her from my bedroom. She had many restless nights and many nights where she acted like she was going into labor and then didn't. The night after Easter she laid down in her stall. Showed no signs of labor. And literally shot out a beautiful foal with no signs of life. Good size, weight, and developed. The vet tried to tell me that the foal suffocated in the amnion. Most babies break the amnion and again this filly showed no signs of life. Another vet came out and discovered that this baby was truly a red bag. A beautiful big snowcap filly. Could not have asked for anything nicer. It was so devastating. No answers. I will never have a baby out of this wonderful gelding and I lost a beautiful filly that could be roaming around my fields this summer. My fields are empty. No baby to run and play. I only wish that I had known. Name with-held
I feel I must report this also after finally being turned on to this website. Fortunately, I only lost one foal and not all 8. I do blame the WNV vaccine for this. I had a TB mare infoal for a late Feb/early March baby for 2003. I kept holding off vaccinating for WNV due to the controversy surrounding it as being actually safe and if it actually worked. Well, after a horse was lost to a neighbor just 2 miles S of us, I finally vaccinated late Aug, (I just couldn't hold off until the first freeze). After giving the second shot, 3 weeks later, that TB mare was in heat. I haven't been able to settle her yet and now she is for sale. Can't help to think that the vaccine had something major to do with this. But, what do you do? I live in a county that is full of lakes and the mosquitoes are bad and there is were so many cases reported last year. Since I vaccinated late last summer, I still am debating with myself as to what to do when the time comes to vaccinate again. It's like having a tiger by the tale.
terri in SD.
I am a lic. veterinary tech also. I tend to lean toward the side of "lazy" and ended up not vaccinating my horses last year for west nile. My vet said it was too late in the year and that by the time I got the booster the season would be over so I did not vaccinate. My mare foaled a breathtaking black and white filly Feb 2002. I weaned the filly and took my mare to the breeder in June 2002. She bred and took July 2002. Once again as a busy person my vet did not get out to vax my mare and other horses for their first WN vax until late April 2003 by this time the foal in the mare was kicking and seemed well. I procrastinated on the booster til well into May 2003. I have a 27 year old mare, a 21 year old geld, a 10 yo welsh pony, a 5 yo mini and my now very pregnant 13 yo mare who has never had any trouble foaling and foals just about exactly 11 months and 1 week to the day. Mare would hit her 11 month mark on June 24th. The filly was born on June 18th at 9pm at night. The mare did not wax but she bagged ok. The filly is small but seems healthy. I have to say I am scared right now and have prayed that this beautiful buckskin overo filly will be ok. I dont know what Red Bag is. The after birth did come out of my mare normal. Seemed to have taken longer but not past 45 mins. I dont live in a real humid area so I dont think I will be using the WNV for a while. I am sorry for all the foal losses. It takes soo long for the mares to foal and when they are your pets along with being horses it is more tragic. The one mare I leased out has not has a WNV, she foaled a nice filly and was rebred and ready to foal again next year! I will send this on to those breeders just in case they are thinking about vaccinating.
My family breeds and races TB horses. We had a broodmare Harvey who foals 9 healthy, strong, winning racehorses and last year was going to be her last foal as we were going to retire her, she was 18 years old and had an easy life, she was healthy and happy. She was WN vaccinated & boosted before she went to the breeding farm which is required when you ship mares to the breeding sheds around NY. Harvey stayed there for a month and was bred, she came home, was checked by the vet 16 days later, no foal! A week later when I went to the barn to a.m. feed the horses Harvey was laying down ---- her back end was paralyzed --- we had to use the tractor to get her up and out of her stall! She would walk and fall back down. The vet salined her - whatever she could do but in the end Harvey was put to sleep - and how we miss that girl! Now we have Harvey's daughter with us, Eliz. Havey had ancient blood in her and we wanted to continue that with Eliz. Eliz was vaccinated and boosted before she went to the breeding farm for several weeks. She came home, was ultra sounded and she did not take... I thought ok first time foaling and with her being a tough mare I can see why she did not take, settle. Now this mare is a mare that is consistant with her heat cycles, is rip roaring mean usually... lately she has become a puppy... no sign of heat either!! I am convinced it is the WNV that has caused these heartaches in my life. I have a young appy mare who I plan to breed It will be her first and I want it to be easy for her. She was vacc. this year, I will wait 2 years on her without the vaccination - - let is get out of her system entirely and then try to breed her. We will breed the TB's again next year with NO WNV, if the breeding farms give us flak about not having the vaccination I will show them the stories here, I am sure they will be happy to breed my horses then. I am so sorry that we are all here together, between the same rock! Take care all and better luck breeding to you all.
Jen in NY
I am not currently breeding my mare, but let me tell you about my experience with WNV. I have two geldings and a very favorite mare. My horses recieved their first WNV during their routine bi-annual vet visit, along with other vaccines, August 2002. Because we have had outbreaks in my area and because I live on a river, I thought that the vaccine would be most beneficial for us. We had no problems with the first round of the WNV vaccine. However, at that time the mare was under anesthsia for teeth floating and one gelding was under, well, to be gelded! The vet left me with the boosters to be administered three weeks later, I was instructed to keep them refridgerated. When it was time to administer the boosters, one pre- measured vial had changed color from dark pink to light pink. I exchanged this at the vet's office for a normal colored vial. The vet called Fort Dodge to repot this, and Fort Dodge told her that color changes in the medication is normal and safe. Fort Dodge and the vet did not charge me for the replacement. But as a nurse, I do not believe the color change is normal, as the vaccine is supposed to be a stable, killed virus.That was the first warning flag for me. Nevertheless, my horses recieved their boosters and almost immediatly my mare began to shake uncontrolably and to show SYMTOMS of west nile. This lasted for nearly an hour and luckily she recovered. My vet says that it was just a reaction and that it would be reported to Fort Dodge, that not alot is really known about the vaccine.Out of all the other types of vaccines my horses have recieved in their lifetime, I have never,never seen a reaction like this before. We have had a strange year since vaccinating WNV. My horses have all come up with unexplainable leg swelling on occassion, despite regular ferrier visits and good footing. Last winter my mare and one of the geldings could not keep weight on, despite being palpatated, checked for worms, receiving regular dewormer, having their teeth examined, and being fed lots of good hay and reasonable grain ration.That is dangerous when temperatures can stay below zero for days. Previousley, they have faired well through the winters. This website has given me some insight as to what may be the cause. As far as causing impotence in stallions, I sold a miniature stallion who did not recieve the vaccine, and I understand he is still able to produce. I have decided that until there is a more stable, reliable vaccine for west nile virus, I will rely on sprays, cider vinegar, a good fan in the barn, and preventing stagnant water on the premises to combat the mosquitos that can cause west nile disease.I hope vaccinating has not caused my mare to be unable to catch, as we plan to have a few more foals in the future. I cannot imagine the horror of losing a horse to a vaccine that is supposed to help, my heart goes out to you all.
Joey B, MI.
I wonder what could have happened to a my foal crop & now I understand, worst part about it I vaccinated my best mares, leased out a few & some I just didn't do cause I couldn't afford it & they were some I was gonna sell. Well anyhow this is very interesting, because all the mares I vaccinated didn't foal, plus one got the welts on her neck & also threw me & almost killed me. After being rode for 3 years & never doing such a thing, I kept saying I think it's the west nile shot! Well thank God I didn't sell her, since she is one of my best, most beautiful mares!~ I bought one of the mares back that I had sold & not vaccinated, she had a very nice toby filly. Another mare I was gonna sell & never did, had a nice toby stud colt, never vaccinated. Then I leased out my black paint mares to a guy that wasn't really on the ball (didn't find that out until he had them & my stallion for 6 months) but anyhow I'm sure he didn't vaccinate, even though I requested in the contract that he do so, 4 of the mares foaled, 1 didn't, the one he was gonna buy, hmmm! The stalllion (which he was gonna buy) looked like he was gonna die when I got him back & the mare he was gonna buy was very thin & not in foal, hmmm again. Put two & two together & I know now he vaccinated the 2 he was gonna buy & left the other, thank God, at least the others had foals. Also the stallion was slow starting to breed this spring, never happened before. Acted like he didn't have the desire. Never vaccinated him this year or the mares he was with all seem bred now, but maybe later than usual... Took him awhile to get back to himself. ( I raised this stallion & had had him for 9 years always a good breeder). The reason I got these horse back is he wasn't caring for them (very thin), so I figured none were bred, because they were thin, but they still were, except the one I suspect was vaccinated. The other mares I leased out to another guy did the vaccinations & all 4 mares were open, plus all the mares I kept that were bred to the same young stallion, were open ( I figured young stallion right??) even though in the past I never had a 2 year old miss a lick. (Of course they didn't have any vaccinations in the past). Anyhow I came up with a pretty good loss this year & with the horse market the way it is it only ads to the devastation. Plus to this day I'm having alot of problems from the horse dumping me. I landed on the top of my shoulders & my head snapped back & hit the ground. I can't hardly ride now because of the this. My head feels like its getting jammed into my skull everytime the horse steps hard. Can't take it! The mare was a wonderful horse that my 12 year old daughter rode before the west nile shot! I also vaccinated another young stallion with 2 shots 2002 & one shot 2003 & he didn't act like he had the desire to breed & was very mature. Jumped on the mares like playing, no other interest. Sold him! Gorgeous horse that I spent alot of time with & had lots of plans for & he was dog gentle. So please take my letter & post it, I will be sending this to the state vet) if anyone would like to contact me please do.
Post for 7/11/03
I have attached a current photo of "Forrest" (as in Gump)Photo shown at bottom of this page, my 9 week old Warmblood cross colt. This is a photo of him looking "good", recuperating from his last surgery. He was born with both knees malformed and tendons so contracted he could not stand up to nurse. We bottle fed him until we were able to get him on his feet; 11 hours later he was able to stand and nurse for short periods of time. Over the past 9 weeks I have spent several thousand dollars and all of my time and energy on this little colt. He has had a total of 4 surgeries so far.He has had knee surgery on both knees and we have cut both front tendons. He was in splints until pressure sores required that we remove them. Now we have one front leg that looks good and one that may need more surgery. At 10 weeks, he has never been able to go outside; has had to live his whole life in a stall. I have racked my brain to try to figure out what caused this problem. I can tell you that his mother was vaccinated for WNV and also had the follow up booster while she was pregnant with this colt.
W. Smith, South Carolina
My name is Brinda M. I own an Equine Reproduction Business called Quality Stallion Services in Athens, Texas. I just wanted to warn mare owners against innoculating thier mares for The "West Nile Virus ". I innoculated my mares in 2003 and 1 week later, they all aborted 6 - 8 mos. foals. There is no question as to what did it. Keep your mares and other horses rubbed and sprayed for flies instead of the shot. At least they have a chance that way. I also noticed that some of my horses experienced a slight founder immeditely after the shot. Very unnerving. It is obvious that our government has used our horses as guinney pigs to see what side effects there would be. I have heard horrible stories from my customers and friends about their negative experience with it as well. In the 35 years That I have been in the breeding business, I have never seen mares cycle so strangely...if at all!! Unpredictable heat patterns and 2 day ovulations...or as many heat at all...they simply shut down after giving birth??? I have never seen anything like this. I will never use the shot again. It would be easier to lose a horse every now and then , rather than lose them all.
Brinda M. Athens, Texas
I am horrified after reading all of the stories regarding lost foals. We vaccinated our horses (including brood mares) for WN last fall. Luckily for us, it was done late in their gestation. After vaccinating for WN I noticed a horrible change in my geldings temperment. He acted as if he was proud cut. I decided to send him to a trainer in Dec. Where he had the "tar" beat out of him. Of course I immediately brought him home and was told he was untrainable. I am now working with him very slowly because of his unpredictable outbursts. I am finding out that we were lucky with our 2 foals that hit the ground this spring. The Filly did start out with a horrible attitude but has since straightened out. However, we did vaccinate for WN once again before the mares foaled. One at 30 days prior and the other at 45 days. The first mare had a first foal and tried to kill him on various occations. I spent many sleepless nights standing guard over him. I litterly had to seperate the stall so he had a safe place to go when I wasnt there. I didnt breed this mare back. But our proven superb brood mare was bred back over and over and over again. She finally settled and was put on Regamate. Her progesterone level is not high enough to sustain this foal. We continue to have her tested and are still dumping major money into vet bills. Lately she hasnt looked settled to me so we'll have to ultrasound again! Now I am scared to think that she could be carrying a deformed foal. After years of wonderful foals from her I'd hate to think that her breeding career is over. Is it coincodence or WN? I have some calls to make and I will not vaccinate for WN again! Thank you.
P from Wisconsin
I don't as a rule give my horses shots. We have 7, all are healthy...The west nile scare got me thinking as none of ours are stalled. I spoke with 2 vets both said they recommended it, I checked on the Net looking for info good and bad, nothing indicating wait and see, more do it now before it is too late,... I wish I had found your site. 2 weeks after the first shot our older lge. pony gelding was noticed to have lost a lot of neck hair. He had a very thick full under this mane, the side where the shot was given was scabby and hairless, and other spots had thin hair. The vet assured us he'd given over 200 shots and only one horse got sick, and that was a colic type reaction which may or may not have been do to the West Nile as that horse had been given other shots at the same time. He recommended I watch the gelding if he got worse call him, if not give him the booster as prearranged. I felt the gelding was worse, but not sick, I called the vet he recommended giving the booster on the other side of the neck. He rubbed out all his mane, most of his tail, he now has hair loss on most of his body, he has lost weight even with grain, and of course now he has green grass instead of hay, and still no weight gain. His hair is dull, hisbackbone is prominent, he seems depressed, and just this week he appears to be altering his gait, and stumbling or acting a little wobbly. The vet assured us the "reaction" was not typical, and would be just a topical type reaction, to give him histamine to ease the itching. We are trying this... hopefully he will quit losing hair, and start putting on weight etc. He can't be ridden the way he is now. Are there any other people out there with this type of reaction?
We had a paint colt the first part of May. He was perfect in every way except he couldn't straighten his front legs. He did stand but would walk like a crab and couldn't stand for long and couldn't nurse. We bottle fed him, the vet came out in the first couple of hours and gave plasma and tetracycline. Next vet came out the next night and the foal had pneumonia already. We rushed him to EMA and they did surgery. Found out his knees were totally fused, every little socket. Nothing they could do. This mare had both shots last year before she was bred and the first shot this year in March. She had lost two in previous years but has had five perfect babies. Thank you for forming this group. The vets never mentioned it could be the WN shot. They said it could have been the position of the baby when being formed. My dog vet said she could have gotten a virus which got me thinking about the shot. She never seemed like she felt bad at all during the entire pregnancy.
Melody Draper Meeker, Oklahoma
Aladdin died Aug 29th, our palomino paint stallion. We too jump on the band wagon of people frantic about the West Nile decease and wanted to do what ever possible to protect all of our horses. So, we gave all 10 horses the shot Aug. 20th and 5 days later Aladdin became ill. We spent 4 days helping him try to fight the most gut wrenching death in an animal I have ever witness. He was only 3 years old. We felt it was the WN shot after several days of grief, called the vet and was told our stallion probably already had WN that is couldn't be the shot because it wasn't a live vaccine. Then we stated to hear other suspicions on the shot and more deaths, more illnesses. So, I started calling strangers about their horses, and all I called gave the shot and there horses were sick or had died after the vaccine was given. We was quilt ridden. After almost a year we still can't get past our loss. We loved Aladdin and the pain is still here. One of our other horses broke out in a rash of small knots and he rubbed and bit and pulled at his skin for about 3 weeks after the shots. The vet said it was an allergic reaction to something in the pasture. He was never in pasture he was always in a dry lot and we changed nothing about his regular daily routine. We noticed another horse slightly dragging the tips of his back hooves and some of our horses stare off as though they see things that's not there and they seem to act robotic. I thought I was crazy and just maybe looking for things but I have talked to several other people that says the same. Has anyone else experienced these other things? Thanks Brenda in IL. Thank you for existing. I have emailed this web site to all equestrian friends, clubs, and my vet. I will report my case as requested to the necessary agencies. My appaloosa mare was vaccinated this past March, and again in April. Since that time I have noticed her sweet disposition change dramatically. She has become very aggressive. She is 22 years old and has always been bossed around by our other gelding. After she was vaccinated with WNV I have seen her actually chase after our gelding until she can bite him. At first I thought she was just getting on in years and was tired of being crowded at feeding time, but it hit me after reading your site that this behavior start after the vaccination. Today our farrier told us of a client who has a 10 month old colt that was 100% healthy, then one day he went down in the pasture and when they finally got him up he walked like a kangaroo! He started to inprove, but he didn't make it. Our farrier is going to find out if his client did vaccinate the colt, I'll keep you posted. I can't believe the current information on the APHIS.USDA.GOV page. There are over 100 different folks writing in about hundreds (maybe thousands) of effected horses, yet they pass it off as only a few. I'm reporting this to everyone who will listen. I don't breed horses, but I own and love them and this is a case of Fort Dodge not taking responsibility! I think all of the folks should get together and file a class action suit!
Jen F., Auburn, CA.
I don't know if this may be related, but I had my 3 y/o appaloosa mare and 3/y/o stud vaccinated this year. A friend mailed me the link to this site. Now I think I understand why the mare has not been in heat this year. I was planning to breed the two this past spring, but the mare never cycled. Now I think I'm glad she didn't. It would have been heartbreaking to lose our first foal. I won't vaccinate next year.
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