Seventh WNV Positive Kentucky Horse

Results of diagnostic testing received today from the University of Kentucky Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center on Friday, Sept. 1, confirmed the diagnosis of the seventh case of West Nile virus (WNV) in Kentucky this year, according to Rusty Ford, Equine Programs Manager in the Kentucky State Veterinarian's office.

A 2-year-old Tennessee walking horse filly was euthanized due to complications of WNV. Onset of clinical signs was Aug. 21. She had not been vaccinated.

West Nile virus infection was identified in nine Kentucky equine during all of 2005. Six of the nine survived and three were euthanatized. Eight animals had received no vaccination against WNV, and no information was available on the ninth. 

Updated information on WNV can be found on the Kentucky Department of Agriculture's web site at

Vaccination and mosquito control are the most important measures to avoid the disease. According to the USDA, the following precautions can help reduce the risk of West Nile virus around homes and stables:

  • Keep horses stabled during dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Turn off lights that attract mosquitoes.
  • Use fluorescent lights, which do not attract mosquitoes.
  • Keep screens in stable windows.
  • Make sure roof gutters drain properly.
  • Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use.
  • Empty water collecting in buckets, tarps, pool covers and tires.
  • Clean water troughs and birdbaths at least once a week.
  • Use mosquito repellent.

Here are tips to eliminate standing water, the breeding grounds for mosquitoes:

  • Dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar water-holding containers that have accumulated on your property. Pay
    special attention to discarded tires that may have accumulated on your property
  • Drill holes in the bottom of containers that are left outdoors. Drainage holes that are located on a container's sides allow them to collect enough water for mosquitoes to breed
  • Clean clogged roof gutters on an annual basis
    Turn over plastic wading pools, wheelbarrows and birdbaths when not in use
    Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish;
    Clean and chlorinate swimming pools that are not being used. Mosquitoes may even breed in water that collects on swimming pool covers
  •  Use landscaping to eliminate standing water that collects on your

West Nile virus  was first detected in the U.S. in 1999 in New York.

About the Author

Kimberly S. Brown

Kimberly S. Brown was the Publisher/Editor of The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care from June 2008 to March 2010, and she served in various positions at Blood-Horse Publications since 1980.

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