Ohio Reports First Equine WNV Case of 2016
The first case of West Nile virus (WNV) in an Ohio horse has been confirmed in 2016.
Testing on samples taken from a 7-year-old Standardbred in Tuscarawas County confirmed the positive WNV diagnosis to the Ohio Department of Agriculture Sept. 12. The horse’s veterinarian first examined the animal Aug. 29. The animal was euthanized after exhibiting significant clinical signs, including shaking, agitation, and thrashing. The horse had not been vaccinated against the disease.
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 fasciculations; 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%.
“This incident in Tuscarawas County should serve as an alert to all horse owners to vaccinate their animals against West Nile virus,” said State Veterinarian Tony Forshey, DVM. “Vaccines are a proven and effective prevention tool and I encourage all owners to talk to their local vet for options and advice on how to keep their animals healthy
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