Wisconsin Confirms WNV in Crawford County Horse

The case marks the state’s first confirmed case of WNV in an equine this year.

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Crawford County, WI
This is the state’s first confirmed case of WNV in an equine in 2021. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons
On Oct. 8, officials at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (WDATCP) confirmed a 9-year-old Belgian-Standardbred cross gelding in Crawford County with West Nile virus (WNV).

The gelding, which was not vaccinated against WNV, began showing clinical signs of the disease on Oct. 1. His signs consisted of being down and unable to rise. He is deceased.

This is the state’s first confirmed case of WNV in an equine in 2021.

About West Nile Virus

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

Health Alert: West Nile Virus in Horses
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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.

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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