Horse Infected with WNV in El Dorado County, California

The horse from the Greenwood community is recovering and expected to survive.
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El Dorado County, California, health officials have confirmed that a horse from the Greenwood community has tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV).

"The horse is recovering and expected to survive, but the case reminds us that the virus is circulating and horse owners need to take precautions," said Fred Sanford with the El Dorado County Environmental Management Division. "Horses exposed to WNV are vulnerable to serious complications and even death. Fortunately, a vaccine is available from many veterinarians that can protect horses."

West Nile is transmitted to horses via bites from infected mosquitoes. Clinical signs for 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. Equine mortality rate can be as high as 30-40%.

The clinical signs of WNV can be consistent with other important neurologic diseases such as equine encephalitis, rabies, and equine herpesvirus; therefore it is important to work with your veterinarian to get an accurate diagnosis through laboratory testing

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