State Senator Patty Ritchie said she is sponsoring two no-cost EEE vaccine clinics for horses this week.
The clinics are aimed at raising public awareness and preventing the spread of Eastern Equine Encephalitis, the mosquito-borne disease that killed at least 12 horses in Central and Northern New York last summer. EEE also claimed the life of a four-year-old Oswego County girl.
The clinics — to be held Thursday evening in Heuvelton and Friday evening in New Haven — are funded by a special grant Senator Ritchie obtained through the state budget and in cooperation with local veterinarians. Horse owners wishing to participate should pre-register at Senator Ritchie’s web site at www.ritchie.nysenate.gov.
“EEE is a very serious disease that is nearly always fatal in horses — and nearly 100 percent preventable, if horses are vaccinated,” said Ritchie. “Yet many horse owners, farmers and others are still unaware of the danger both to their families and to their farm animals. These clinics aim to educate farmers and horse owners, and protect a very valuable investment.”
Assemblyman Will Barclay, who is co-hosting the New Haven clinic, said, “Everyone needs to take steps to protect themselves from EEE, including horse owners. We’ve got to do all we can to prevent EEE and vaccinating our horses is an important step.”
There is no human vaccine for EEE, but the horse vaccine is nearly 100 percent effective.
The clinics are being conducted by two licensed veterinarians — Dr. Jack Zeh in Heuvelton and Dr. Reid J. Oliver in New Haven — who have agreed to waive any additional fees for their services.
The New Haven clinic will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Town of New Haven Highway Department, N.Y.S. Route 104.