Monday, September 29, 2014



Horse had not been vaccinated for disease.

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) today announced 2014’s first positive case of West Nile Virus (WNV) in a horse. The horse, an eight-year-old Paint Gelding, is from Augusta County. It had not been vaccinated for WNV.

Dr. Joe Garvin, head of VDACS’ Office of Laboratory Services, urges horse owners to check with their veterinarians about vaccinating their animals for WNV. “WNV is a mosquito-borne disease,” he said, “and we generally start seeing our first cases in August and September. The disease is preventable by vaccination, as is Eastern Equine Encephalitis, so many veterinarians recommend vaccination at least yearly, and in mosquito-prone areas, every six months.” He adds that mosquito season in Virginia can run through November.

The WNV vaccine for equines initially requires two doses administered three to six weeks apart. The vaccine takes four to six weeks from the second dose for optimal effectiveness. Horse owners should consult with their veterinarians to choose a re-vaccination schedule to protect their horses effectively. Prevention methods besides vaccination include destroying standing water breeding sites for mosquitoes, use of insect repellents and removing animals from mosquito-infested areas during peak biting times, usually dusk to dawn.

Mosquitoes can transmit the virus from bird to bird. Occasionally a mosquito that has bitten an infected bird will then bite a human, horse or other mammal and transmit the virus to them. Transmission between horses and humans is extremely unlikely. Continuous, effective mosquito control can minimize the risk of exposure of both horses and humans to mosquito-borne diseases.

Currently, no drugs exist to treat WNV specifically in horses or humans. The mortality rate in equines is about 30 percent. Treatment for an infected horse consists of supportive therapy to prevent the animal from injuring itself throughout the two to three weeks of the disease. A veterinarian can prescribe treatment tailored to the particular case.

Animal owners should consult their veterinarians if an animal exhibits any neurological symptoms such as a stumbling gait, going down, facial paralysis, drooping or disinterest in their surroundings. Currently, there are live-animal tests for WNV in horses and chickens, but none for other animals, although testing can be done on any dead animal. Animal owners should consult their veterinarians or the nearest VDACS Regional Animal Health Laboratory for advice or information should an animal exhibit symptoms of WNV. The location and phone number of each lab is available at   

The following websites provide more information on WNV and how to protect humans and horses:



Thursday, September 25, 2014

Virginia Tech Income Tax Schools

L. Leon Geyer (, Professor, Agricultural Law, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech
This year we offer three different seminars: 1) Introductory Tax Preparation Seminar 2) General Income Tax Seminar and 3) The new annual filing season program for tax return preparers

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) has confirmed the first case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in a horse this year. The horse, a two-year-old Arabian male from Suffolk, was vaccinated for EEE and West Nile Virus (WNV) more than a year ago but was not revaccinated this year.  

Last year Virginia had no reported cases of EEE in horses or other livestock. The disease has a mortality rate of around 80 percent, so prevention is a key part of equine health. Generally, EEE is transmitted by mosquitoes. Prevention methods include vaccination, destroying standing water breeding sites for mosquitoes, using insect repellents and removing animals from mosquito-infested areas during peak biting times, usually dusk to dawn. 

In an April 2014 press release, Dr. Richard Wilkes, VDACS’ State Veterinarian, encouraged horse owners to work with their veterinarians to plan a vaccination schedule that would protect their horses from EEE and West Nile Virus. Available vaccines are generally effective in drastically reducing the incidence of both EEE and WNV in horses. For the vaccine to be effective it must be handled and administered properly and be given at least two weeks before the horse is exposed to the virus. Additionally, to stimulate full immunity, horses must be vaccinated twice, about 30 days apart, the first year of vaccination. The vaccines are effective for six to 12 months, so horses should be revaccinated at least annually. In an area where the disease occurs frequently, such as southeast and Tidewater Virginia, most veterinarians recommend vaccination every six months. 

For more information, please contact the Office of the State Veterinarian at 804.692.0601 or consult your local veterinarian.


Elaine Lidholm

Director of Communications

Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

102 Governor Street

Richmond VA 23219


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Giving Your Horse the Best Chance During Disasters

Tuesday September 16th at 7 PM Eastern Giving Your Horse the Best Chance During Disasters for Horse Owners


When disaster strikes, a horse’s instinct and its owner’s preparation is the horse’s best chance for survival. Disaster preparation includes training your horse to load in a trailer under stressful circumstances, having an animal evacuation plan, and ensuring your horse can be identified with proper paper work. Join My Horse University and eXtension Horses FREE webinar on Tuesday, September 16th at 7 PM EDT to learn about Giving Your Horse the Best Chance During Disasters. Register for the webcast. Presenters: Karen Waite, Michigan State University and Scott Cotton, University of Wyoming.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Extension Farm & Family Showcase

Shenandoah County Park

Celebrate Virginia Cooperative Extension's Centennial Anniversary and the Farm & Family Showcase

The Extension Farm & Family Showcase is a free event marking the grand opening of the Shenandoah County Sustainable Farm Demonstration and celebrating 100 years of Virginia Cooperative Extension.
  • Hay rides
  • Sustainable Farm Demonstrations
  • Farming Best Practices
  • Biosecurity Education
  • Conservation Activities by Lord Fairfax Soil & Water Conservation District
  • Extension program displays including Master Gardeners, 4-H, Well Water Education, Livestock Quality Assurance, Food Safety & Nutrition, Family Financial Management
  • Food available for purchase



Virginia Tech Copenhaver Sheep Center

Blacksburg, VA

Friday, October 24 and Saturday, October 25
(10 AM Friday through 3 PM Saturday)

This workshop is designed for individuals with a limited amount of experience in the care and management of sheep. Special emphasis will be placed on the management practices required during and around the time of lambing. Participants will get hands-on experience with a group of ewes that will be lambing during the two-day workshop.

Topics areas to be covered include:
Facilities and Handling, Newborn Lamb Management, Flock Health, Nutrition & Feeding Management

Reproductive Management, Basic Record Keeping & Selection

This workshop is limited to a maximum of 25 participants. The cost is $40 per person. The first 25 preregistrants will be enrolled. First-time participants will be given preference. To preregister for the workshop, utilize the form below. Detailed information will follow receipt of registration (including lodging block details).