South Carolina Confirms Horse With WNV

The case is the state’s sixth in 2021 and the county’s second.
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Colleton County, South Carolina
This case marks South Carolina’s sixth case of WNV in 2021, and Colleton County’s second. | Wikimedia Commons
On Nov. 2, officials at Clemson Livestock Poultry Health (CLPH) confirmed a 10-year-old Quarter Horse gelding in Colleton County with West Nile virus (WNV). The horse had not been vaccinated against WNV. He is reported as recovering.

This case marks South Carolina’s sixth case of WNV in 2021, and Colleton County’s second.

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
VIDEO | Health Alert: West Nile Virus in Horses

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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