First Colorado Horse Infected with West Nile
A horse in Boulder County has been diagnosed with West Nile Virus (WNV). This is the first confirmed case of WNV in livestock for 2015.
“Strict insect control is an important factor to inhibit the transmission of West Nile Virus. I encourage livestock owners to keep an eye out for standing water for mosquito populations,” said State Veterinarian, Dr. Keith Roehr.
The transmission of the disease varies from year to year and depends on a number of factors including mosquito numbers. The WNV can be amplified and 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.
Infected horses may display symptoms including head tilt, muscle tremors, stumbling, lack of coordination, weakness of the limbs or partial paralysis. The clinical signs of WNV are consistent with other important neurological diseases such as equine encephalitis, rabies, and equine herpes virus; therefore it is important to work with your veterinarian to get an accurate diagnosis through laboratory testing. Horse owners should also consult their private practicing veterinarian to determine an appropriate disease prevention plan for their horses.
Vaccines have proven to be a very effective prevention tool. Horses that have been vaccinated in past years will need an annual booster shot. However, if an owner did not vaccinate their animal in previous years, the horse will need the two-shot vaccination series within a three to six week period. This case was diagnosed by Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Fort Collins.
In addition to vaccinations, horse owners also need to reduce the mosquito populations and their possible breeding areas. Recommendations include removing stagnant water sources, keeping animals inside during the bugs’ feeding times, which are typically early in the morning and evening, and using mosquito repellents.
For complete and updated information concerning new WNV equine case information including numbers and location of test positive horses visit:
–Colorado Dept. of Ag