Three Wisconsin Horses Succumb to EEE

All were either unvaccinated or undervaccinated.
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Three Wisconsin Horses Succumb to EEE
Mosquitoes that feed on EEE-infected birds can transmit the virus to humans, horses, and other birds. | Photo: iStock

Officials at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (WDATCP) have confirmed that three horses have died from Eastern equine encephalomyelitis (EEE). One was located in each of three counties: Oconto, Oneida, and Shawano.

The Oconto County horse, a yearling Quarter Horse gelding that was undervaccinated, started showing clinical signs on Sept. 19. Signs included fever, depression, anorexia (loss of appetite), ataxia (loss of muscle control), teeth grinding, reluctance to move, muscle fasciculation (twitching) of the head and neck, left facial paralysis, aniscoria (differences in pupil size), and lack of pupillary reflex. He was euthanized.

On Sept. 22, an unvaccinated 14-year-old Quarter Horse mare in Oneida County began experiencing signs that included aniscoria, facial twitching, recumbency (down and unable to rise), and slow pupillary reflex. She was confirmed positive on Sept. 30 and was euthanized

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Diane Rice earned her bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism from the University of Wisconsin, then married her education with her lifelong passion for horses by working in editorial positions at Appaloosa Journal for 12 years. She has also served on the American Horse Publications’ board of directors. She now freelances in writing, editing, and proofreading. She lives in Middleton, Idaho, and spends her spare time gardening, reading, serving in her church, and spending time with her daughters, their families, and a myriad of her own and other people’s pets.

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