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Horse in Nebraska confirmed with West Nile

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Brad S

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2005
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west of Soapweed
The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) announced today that a horse in Cherry County has been confirmed positive with West Nile Virus (WNV).

This is the first case of WNV in an equine in Nebraska since 2003. WNV affects the equine species (including horses, mules and donkeys) as well as birds and humans.

The two-year old gelding exhibited clinical suggestive signs of WNV, and is currently recovering. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory confirmed the positive case.

WNV causes encephalitis in humans and equine. The virus is transmitted by mosquitoes, which acquire it from infected birds. Horses, mules and donkeys are infected when bitten by an infected mosquito. The virus does not spread from equine to equine.

NDA suggests that horse owners contact their veterinarian to get advice on a WNV vaccinations regimen.

"These vaccinations will help prevent the horse from contracting West Nile Virus and increase their chances of surviving in the animal does contract the disease," said State Veterinarian Dr. Dennis Hughes.

Owners are advised to house their horses and donkeys in stables in the mornings and evenings - the peak times for mosquito activity, avoid turning on lights inside the stable during evening and overnight; remove birds that are in or close to the stable; eliminate areas of standing water; use mosquito repellents; and fog the stable premises.

For more information on or to report suspected cases of WNV in equine, contact your local veterinarian, NDA's Bureau of Animal Industry at (402) 471-2351, or USDA/APHIS/Veterinary services at (402) 434-2300.

More information on West Nile Virus can also be found at www.agr.ne.gov, under Hot Topics.
Brad, The vaccine is not a sure fire preventative either. Got a neighbor about 8 miles away that lost 2 nice horses to WNV last year that he had vaccinated religiously. Needless to say, his insect control methods have intensified.

Mosquito breeding area elimination will help bunches. I look for WNV to start up again down here with all the rain lately. For mosquitos, "the wetter the better".
My brother-in-law at Oshkosh, Nebraska, gave his horses WNV vaccine this spring. One of his mares, that was lactating a baby colt, died because of the shot. Now they have an orphan colt.

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