What Is Equine West Nile Virus and What is Our Risk in Kentucky?

Posted by Mosquito Squad

August 30, 2017

Did you know that horses can become infected with West Nile Virus too? Equine West Nile virus is when a horse becomes infected with West Nile virus from the bite of an infected mosquito. While Eastern Equine Encephalitis is a huge summer concern for horse owners, the slightly more common West Nile Virus is a danger too. In fact, five horses in Kentucky have already been diagnosed with West Nile Virus just this year.

Symptoms of Equine West Nile Virus

The symptoms of West Nile Virus in horses begin with flulike signs, a mild loss of appetite and depression, fine and coarse muscle fasciculation (twitching), hypersensitivity to touch and sound, changes in mentality, occasional drowsiness, zoning out, driving or pushing forward without control, and spinal signs including asymmetrical weakness. Some may experience asymmetrical or symmetrical loss of control of their body movements. West Nile virus in horses has a mortality rate of 30-40%, making it extremely dangerous for your horses.

Kentucky Horses Face West Nile Virus Threat

In a fifteen year span, from 2001 to 2016, 728 cases of Equine West Nile Virus were confirmed in Kentucky. In 96% of those cases, the horse was not adequately vaccinated. And 30% of those cases resulted in the death of the horse.

Equine West Nile Virus Prevention

Following your veterinarian’s guide for disease prevention and a vaccination schedule is vital in preventing Equine West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis and other diseases that could harm your horses.

Preventing mosquito bites is an additional precaution you can and should take to protect your horses, other pets, and human family members. It only takes one bite from an infected mosquito to become seriously ill. At Mosquito Squad of Louisville, our traditional barrier treatment eliminates up to 90% of mosquitoes on your property and continues to work for up to three weeks. We also offer automatic misting systems that are convenient and effective for large outdoor areas such as horse stables, for continuous mosquito control. Call today to discuss your mosquito control options with our experts.