West Nile Vaccine- Adverse Reaction
Horse Owner Speaks Out
Before I speak, let me preface this article
to make it clearly understood, this information is not a blame
or vendetta towards anything or anyone. It also needs to be unmistakably
understood that I am not for or against vaccinating horses.
My sole intent and/or purpose is to educate
and inform the horse owner regarding concerns of their horse(s)
health in an effort to assist and/or prevent the tragic misfortune
that happened to our gelding, Dartanian. He was one of the principal
characters in the book, "The Spiritual Life of Horses."
His love, integrity, courage, loyalty and quite often humor, will
live on in our hearts through his inspiration and valor.
In mid August we were suggested to vaccinate
against West Nile Virus, I simply was not well-educated on the
vaccine nor the virus or knew the right questions to ask at the
time. With the first shot, three of our horses reacted. Our pregnant
mare, our gelding and Dr. Donald Warren's stallion, a boarder,
all had the same re-action, their front legs swelled. Within 2
days, our gelding Dartanian foundered, shortly there after he
These are adverse reactions to a vaccine.
The reactions our horses experienced are not soley limited to
what we saw. Other adverse reactions stated by Fort Dodge's safety
study are: systemic reactions, colic, diarrhea, fever, swellings.
The West Nile Vaccine is new. According
to Dr. Charles L. McDaniel from USDA, "this is what is called
a conditional vaccine. New vaccines such as this, are granted
a one year "conditional" trial period. If safety and
efficacy are established, a renewal license for a second year
may be granted." The West Nile Vaccine license has been renewed
for another year. He also stated "when a new vaccine is released
it is sold and provided only through veterinarians for one reason,
because the manufacturer needs to monitor the field response."
(**more information from Dr. Charles McDaniel regarding conditional
If any reaction occurs then it is the
responsibility of the practicing veterinarian to record it and
report it to the manufacturer immediately in case there is a problem
with that serial batch of vaccine.
In the case of the West Nile Vaccine, the
manufacturer is Fort Dodge. I spoke with Dr. Tuttle at Fort Dodge
regarding our situation and also explained what I was dealing
with afterward. Dr. Tuttle, listened intently to what I described,
documented my report and said to me, "Lynette, please accept
my greatest apologies for what you have gone through, I am a practicing
veterinarian, this information is not falling on deaf ears, I
will investigate this immediately."
He also stated, "we urge and encourage
people to contact us immediately and report adverse reactions
to our vaccines. We subsequently report it to the USDA and investigate
the serial numbers of the batches that were being used to see
if the batch has been contaminated. If people don't report problems
then we don't know."
Dr. Tuttle also stated to me, " if
there is the slightest indication that the vaccine caused a problem
then it needs to be reported to us without delay so that we can
investigate and research that batch."
If your horse(s) have had a reaction to
this vaccine, Dr. Charlie McDaniel, USDA and Dr. Tuttle from Fort
Dodge are asking you to contact them and report it. The following
is their contact information:
Dr. Charlie McDaniel, USDA,
Tel# 1-515-232-5785 ext. 146
this is a website where you document what happened. Once the information
is received it is therefore reported to the manufacturer. The
manufacturer then investigates and researches the problem. If
a bad batch of vaccine has made it's way to the public it is then
recalled. This is my understanding of recourse from both Dr. McDaniel
and Dr. Tuttle.
Dr. Tuttle, Fort Dodge,
Attn: West Nile Product Manager
Fort Dodge Animal Health
West Nile Vaccine Product Manager
Overland Park, KS 66225-5945
In the future make sure when your horse(s)
are being administered a vaccine that you get the serial number
and/or the batch number from your veterinarian and that it is
logged on your horse(s) record in case you need immediate recourse.
Also, under no circumstances administer
a vaccine to any horse whom is under any stress or has an impaired
immune system, colic, laminitis, etc
I believe Fort Dodge's intent was not to create fear and chaos
within the horse world nor price gouge the horse owner with something
new to make a profit at the horse owner and horse's expense. I
also believe their intent was to help alleviate a potential problem.
In doing so they need your assistance, the horse owner, to provide
them with any adverse reaction(s) to their product so they can
correct it and make the difference they initially set out to do.
For those of you concerned and would like to use alternative medicines
too assist in healing and warding off potential problems. The
following information is provided:
At a recent workshop in New Orleans this
past August with Kerry Bone, BSc Dip Phyto, Australia's leading
herbalist, the topic of West Nile Virus came up. Mr. Bone stated
that Australia has a similar virus, originating in birds and transmitted
by mosquitoes. The protocol that he has found most effective in
combating this virus is using Medi Herb St. John's Wort and Medi
Herb Echinacea Premium.
To quote from a 1995 issue of the Modern
Phytotherapist on St. John's Wort: "St. John's Wort (Hypericum
perforatum) has been proposed as an antiviral agent against enveloped
viruses. It has been suggested that preparations standardized
to a high level of total hypericin are necessary for significant
antiviral activity." The West Nile Virus is an enveloped
In September of this year, at the National
Conference on Nutritional and Herbal Applications in Wisconsin,
my husband had an occasion to speak with Dr. Martens from South
Dakota. She shared her results of treating horses with full blown
reactions to the West Nile Virus having complete recovery. Although
from opposite ends of the world, working independently, the same
conclusions were made. Both used Medi Herb St. John's Wort in
their protocol and both worked to boost the immune system.
To locate a doctor in your area using Medi
Herb and Standard Process products, please call 1-501-745-6696,
or send a SASE to Therapeutic Nutritional Services, Inc., P.O.
Box 1579, Clinton, AR 72031 and write West Nile Virus Information.
In closing, I would like to thank you,
the reader, for your time and for listening. We wish you and yours
the best of health and happiness. May you and your loved ones
never be exposed to or experience what we did!
And to Dartanian, the noblest of noble,
the truest of knights, rest in peace beloved friend.
With much love and many, many blessings
**From Dr. Charles McDaniel, USDA
A conditional license has already proven
in the firm's testing that each serial of product meet the standards
for inactivation, safety and purity testing before a license is
issued. What this means is that :
1. Inactivation testing has shown that
the organism (in this case-West Nile Virus) has been killed so
that there is no live organism to cause the actual disease you
are trying to prevent.
2. Safety testing has been performed in
a statisically large enough population of animals to show that
the vaccine is reasonably safe to administer to the target animal.
In actual field use involving thousands of doses of vaccine, many
times reactions not observed or reported in initial testing may
manifest. Animals having pre-exsisting conditions,different genetics,
different management styles, and the larger numbers involved may
be a few of the reasons that these newer reactions are seen.
3. Purity testing is performed on each
serial of vaccine before it is released to demonstrate that it
is not contaminated with extraneous organisms (not supposed to
When a conditional license is issued, it
is marketed and provided only through veterianrians so that the
manufacturer is able to monitor the field response, especially
the adverse events or reactions.
Don't administer a vaccine to an animal
that has a previous reaction to vaccination without discussing
this with your veterinarian."