Washington adds to areas with West Nile Virus-infected horses

News
Sep 11, 2009
by WLJ
Washington adds to areas with West Nile Virus-infected horses

West Nile virus (WNV) has been confirmed in seven more horses, including one in Franklin County, the first confirmed equine case in the county for 2009, the Washington State Department of Agriculture announced last week. Two of the horses have been put down; the other five are recovering.

A Quarter Horse gelding from Pasco was euthanized recently. The attending veterinarian reports the horse was not current with vaccines for WNV. The age of the horse was not immediately available.

Additional cases confirmed last week by the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Pullman include: A 16-year-old Paint mare in Benton City was euthanized; the horse was not current with vaccines. An 11-year-old Arabian gelding in Benton City is recovering; the horse was not vaccinated. A 1-year-old

Paint mare in Benton City is doing well; the horse was not current with vaccinations.

A 20-year-old Quarter Horse gelding in Warden is gradually improving.

The horse was not vaccinated.

A 4-year-old Tennessee Walker/Appaloosa mix in Ellensburg is recovering; the horse was not vaccinated. A 4-year-old Arabian mare in Ellensburg is recovering; the horse was not current with vaccinations.

The total number of confirmed cases of WNV infection in horses stands at 39 as of Sept. 3, with cases confirmed in Adams, Benton, Grant, Kittitas, Yakima, and now Franklin counties. The first cases were announced July 24.

No confirmed cases of WNV in horses have been reported in western Washington this year.

WNV is spread by mosquitoes that have fed on an infected bird. The disease can sicken people, horses, many types of birds, and other animals. It is not spread from horses to other animals.

WNV is fatal in about one-third of all horses that show clinical signs, although most horses do not become ill and show no symptoms at all. Those that do become ill display loss of coordination, loss of appetite, confusion, fever, stiffness, and muscle weakness, particularly in the hindquarters.

Veterinarians who learn of potential WNV infections in horses or other animals should contact the State Veterinarian’s Office at 360/902-1881.— WLJ

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