The Kentucky State Veterinarian’s office announced today (Aug. 13) that an Edmonson County horse has tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV).
"Testing conducted at Murray State University’s Breathitt Veterinary Center has confirmed the first reported equine West Nile case in Kentucky for 2013," according to today’s statement from Kentucky Equine Programs Manager E.S. "Rusty" Ford.
Ford’s statement relayed that on Aug. 9 the 5-year-old Quarter Horse mare—who has no WNV vaccination history within the past year—began showing clinical signs of disease; she presented with colic and an abnormal neurologic presentation (including a head tilt, muscle fasciculation, lip paresis, and hypersensitivity to touch).
"The patient is reported today as continuing to recover and showing improvement," Ford’s statement said.
Clinical signs for WNV include flulike signs, where the horse seems mildly anorexic and depressed; fine and coarse muscle and skin fasciculations (twitching); 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 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 Ke