Eleventh Equine WNV Case of 2013 Reported in Kentucky

Eleventh Equine WNV Case of 2013 Reported in Kentucky

WNV is a viral disease transmitted to horses by infected mosquitoes.

Photo: Photos.com

The Kentucky State Veterinarian's office announced yesterday (Oct. 22) that a Trigg County horse has tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV), the eleventh confirmed case in the commonwealth this year.

A statement from Kentucky Equine Programs manager E.S. "Rusty" Ford relayed that a 4-year-old Shire gelding became recumbent (down and unable to rise) on Oct. 16 and was subsequently euthanized. The horse had no WNV vaccination history, Ford's statement said.

Nine of the WNV-affected horses are reportedly recovering or have recovered; two affected horses—including the most recently confirmed case—have been euthanized.

WNV is a viral disease transmitted to horses by infected mosquitoes. Clinical signs of WNV include flulike signs, where the horse seems mildly anorexic and depressed; fine and coarse muscle and skin fasciculation; 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 (incoordination). Equine mortality rates can be as high as 30-40%.

The United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service reported 627 cases of WNV in U.S. horses in 2012; 13 cases were reported last year in Kentucky.

About the Author

Erica Larson, News Editor

Erica Larson, news editor, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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