Seven Colorado horses are infected with West Nile
August 29, 2009
Seven Colorado horses have been infected with the West Nile virus in the north, northeast and southeast parts of the state, the Colorado Department of Agriculture reported Saturday.
The recently diagnosed cases are the first equine cases this year.
“Late summer and early fall have traditionally been the time of year when we are most likely to see WNV cases reported in horse,” said Colorado State veterinarian Dr. Keith Roehr. “In 2008, there was only one reported equine case of WNV in Colorado; it is difficult to project how many WNV cases we may see in the coming months.”
West Nile has the capability to cause encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain, in both humans and horses, which can result in death.
Mosquitoes are the primary carrier of the virus. In 2006, more than 1,000 West Nile equine cases were reported nationally. Symptoms in horses include head tilt, muscle tremors, stumbling, lack of coordination, weakness of the limbs or partial paralysis.
If horses exhibit those symptoms, horse owners should consult their private veterinarian to determine an appropriate course of action. Horses that have been vaccinated in past years will need an annual booster shot. However, if an owner did not vaccinate their animal in previous years, the horse will need the two-shot vaccination series within a three- to six-week period.
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For complete and updated information concerning new WNV equine case information including numbers and location of test positive horses visit: