Ninth West Nile Virus Case Reported in Kentucky

Kentucky animal health officials have confirmed the commonwealth's ninth case of equine West Nile virus (WNV) in 2012, according to a statement from Kentucky Equine Programs Manager E.S. "Rusty" Ford.

The affected horse--a 5-year-old Tennessee Walking Horse gelding from Franklin County with a three-year vaccination history--began showing clinical signs on Aug. 30. He presented bright; alert and responsive; was eating normally; and had moderate rear limb ataxia (requiring assistance to rise) that progressively worsened. He was euthanized on Sept. 3.

Of the nine reported cases of WNV in Kentucky as of Sept. 5, four horses have lived and five have been euthanized.

Clinical signs for WNV include flulike signs, where the horse seems mildly anorexic and depressed; fine and coarse muscle and skin fasciculations (twitching); hyperesthesia (hypersensitivity to touch and sound); changes in mentation (mentality), when horses look like they are daydreaming or "just not with it"; occasional somnolence (drowsiness); propulsive walking (driving or pushing forward, often without control); and "spinal" signs, including asymmetrical weakness. Some horses show asymmetrical or symmetrical ataxia. Equine mortality rate can be as high as 30-40%.

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