The first positive West Nile Virus horse has been reported in the Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department nine county district for 2017.
“Horses cannot transmit West Nile Virus to other horses, animals or to humans. However they can get the virus from a mosquito bite.” states Melissa Propp, RN, Surveillance Nurse at SWNPHD. “West Nile causes encephalitis, which is an inflammation of the brain.”
Per the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, the signs and symptoms of West Nile encephalitis in horses includes loss of appetite, depression, fever, quivering muscles, and weakness of limbs. Infected horses mar may not show clinical sings.
While there is no specific treatment for horse with WNV, the Department of Agriculture has these recommendations for prevention.
- House horses indoors during peak periods of mosquito activity (dusk and dawn).
- Avoid turning on lights inside the stable during the evening and overnight.
- Places incandescent bulbs around the perimeter of the stable to attract mosquitoes away from the horses.
- Remove all birds, including chickens that are in, or close to, the stable.
- Fogging of stable premises can be done in the evening to reduce mosquitoes; read directions carefully before using.
Vaccination is the best practice in prevention of WNV in horses. Owners should contact their veterinarian for additional information.