Two horses in Weld County and one horse in LaPlata County have been diagnosed with West Nile Virus (WNV). All three cases were diagnosed by Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Fort Collins.
The incidence of WNV disease varies from year to year and depends on a number of factors, including mosquito numbers. The West Nile virus can be carried by infected birds and then spread locally by mosquitoes that bite those birds. The mosquitoes can then pass the virus to humans and animals. Horses are a dead-end host and therefore infected horses pose no threat to public health but they can be severely affected and they are an indicator of the presence of the virus in mosquito populations.
Here is some important information for horse owners, please help us get information out to the public on WNV:
- Contact a veterinarian if horses exhibit clinical signs consistent with WNV so that a proper diagnosis can be obtained - clinical signs include head tilt, muscle tremors, lack of coordination, weakness of the limbs or partial paralysis
- Be aware that clinical signs of WNV are consistent with other important neurological diseases such as equine encephalitis, rabies, and equine herpes virus so work with your veterinarian to get an accurate diagnosis through laboratory testing
- Consult a veterinarian on appropriate prevention strategies
- Mitigate the mosquito populations and possible mosquito breeding areas on your property
- Take precautions to develop methods to repel mosquitos from biting your horse
- Vaccinate your horses for WNV as it is a very effective prevention tool
- Protect yourself by using appropriate WNV preventive activities suggested by public health experts (see web sites below)
For more WNV information