Texas Horse Positive for West Nile Virus
A horse at an equine clinic in Grimes County, Texas, is positive for West Nile virus, according to an attending veterinarian. | Wikimedia Commons

An attending veterinarian confirmed that a horse in Grimes County, Texas, is positive for West Nile virus. The horse is at an equine clinic.

EDCC Health Watch is an Equine Network marketing program that utilizes information from the Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) to create and disseminate verified equine disease reports. The EDCC is an independent nonprofit organization that is supported by industry donations in order to provide open access to infectious disease information.

WNV 101

West Nile virus is transmitted to horses via bites from infected mosquitoes. Not all infected horses show clinical signs, but those that do can exhibit:

  • Flulike signs, where the horse seems mildly anorexic and depressed;
  • Fine and coarse muscle and skin fasciculation (involuntary twitching);
  • Hyperesthesia (hypersensitivity to touch and sound);
  • Changes in mentation (mental activity), when horses look like they’re daydreaming or “just not with it”;
  • Occasional drowsiness;
  • Propulsive walking (driving or pushing forward, often without control); and
  • Spinal signs, including asymmetrical weakness; and
  • Asymmetrical or symmetrical ataxia.

West Nile virus has no cure. However, some horses can recover with supportive care. Equine mortality rates can reach 30-40%.

Studies have shown that vaccines can be effective WNV prevention tools. Horses vaccinated in past years need an annual booster shot, but veterinarians might recommend two boosters annually—one in the spring and another in the fall—in areas with prolonged mosquito seasons. In contrast, previously unvaccinated horses require a two-shot vaccination series in a three- to six-week period. It takes several weeks for horses to develop protection against the disease following complete vaccination or booster administration.

In addition to vaccinations, owners should work to reduce mosquito population and breeding areas and limit horses’ mosquito exposure by:

  • Removing stagnant water sources;
  • Dumping, cleaning, and refilling water buckets and troughs regularly;
  • Keeping animals inside during insect feeding times (typically early in the morning and evening); and
  • Applying mosquito repellents approved for equine use.
Brought to you by Boehringer Ingelheim, The Art of the Horse
Share
Related Articles
horses grazing on pasture
HORSES FOR MENTAL HEALTH CONTINUES PARTNERSHIP WITH ZOETIS EQUINE AS TITLE SPONSOR OF SEEN THROUGH HORSES CAMPAIGN 2024
1920px-Quebec_in_Canada_2
Quebec Horse Positive for EHV
Erie-County-NY
EHV-1 Confirmed at New York Racetrack
Tulsa-OK
Oklahoma Quarter Horse Positive for EHM
Newsletter
Don’t miss an important EDCC Health Alert! Get alerts delivered straight to your inbox by signing up for Horse & Rider’s newsletter.

"*" indicates required fields

Name*
Country*

Additional Offers

Additional Offers
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.