Oklahoma Horse Confirmed With WNV

The gelding was unvaccinated against West Nile virus.
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Oklahoma Horse Confirmed With WNV
The Comanche County gelding was unvaccinated against West Nile virus. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons
On Oct. 6, Oklahoma’s State Veterinarian confirmed an unvaccinated Quarter Horse gelding on a private facility in Comanche County with West Nile virus (WNV). The gelding first showed clinical signs, which included tremors, on Sept. 30. He is reported as recovering, and his tremors have resolved.

About West Nile Virus

WNV transmission occurs when infected mosquitoes feed on animals, as well as humans, after having fed on infected birds.

Clinical signs of WNV in horses include:

  • Mild anorexia and depression
  • Fine and coarse muscle and skin fasciculation;
  • Hyperesthesia (hypersensitivity to touch and sound);
  • Changes in mentation (mentality), when horses look like they’re daydreaming or “just not with it”;
  • Occasional drowsiness;
  • Propulsive walking (driving or pushing forward, often without control);
  • Spinal signs, including asymmetrical weakness; and
  • Asymmetrical or symmetrical ataxia.
Health Alert: West Nile Virus in Horses
VIDEO | Health Alert: West Nile Virus in Horses

West Nile virus has no cure; however, some horses can recover with supportive care. Equine mortality rates can reach 30-40%. The American Association of Equine Practitioners includes WNV as one of the core diseases all horses should be vaccinated against at least annually.


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