At Animal Medical Center of Wyoming, we have received laboratory confirmation that two horses we are treating tested positive for West Nile Virus and we have a test pending on a 3rd case. The horses presented with neurological signs such as being wobbly on their feet. The three horses are unrelated and from different parts of the county. One of the horses did, unfortunately, pass away due to the disease. We are hopeful the other two horses will continue to improve.
West Nile Virus is transmitted when a mosquito takes a blood from a bird infected with WNV, then feeds on a horse. The virus can cause inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. The symptoms from WNV include but not limited to:
- Hindlimb ataxia
- Unsteadiness when walking/standing
- Twitching of muzzle and shoulders, etc.
Horses, humans and some species of birds are most susceptible to West Nile Virus. Dogs and cats can become infected but it is highly unlikely that they will become ill. It’s important to also point out that the same mosquitoes that infect horses with the virus can also infect humans, but there is no risk that a human can contract West Nile Virus from their horse.
Here are some ways to make sure your horse is protected:
- West Nile Virus in horses is easily prevented with a safe and effective vaccine that is available at Animal Medical Center of Wyoming.
- Eliminate any potential areas on your property where mosquitoes can breed. Dispose of old receptacles, tires, and containers and eliminate areas of standing water.
- Make sure your livestock watering troughs are cleaned.
- Limit outdoor activity around the peak of mosquito activity (around dawn and dusk)
- Don’t forget to protect yourself as well! When outdoors in the evening, wear clothing that covers your skin and apply plenty of mosquito repellent.
If you have any questions or concerns, please call us at 307-682-1507. You and your horse’s health is important to us so we ask you to not take this threat lightly.
Click Here for more information on West Nile Virus in horses from the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP).