We now have 10 cases of horses struck with the West Nile virus, with those horses spread across seven counties in Eastern Washington.
West Nile virus is a disease carried by mosquitoes which can be fatal to horses. Symptoms include loss of appetite, lethargy and loss of coordination. Horse owners are urged to keep horses indoors at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are prevalent, especially if their horses have not been vaccinated against West Nile.
There's still time to vaccinate for this mosquito season. And, for greater comfort for your horses, consider insect repellent sprays or wipes, fly sheets or fly-repellent feed supplements.
The newest West Nile virus cases have been found in Grant, Kittitas and Lincoln counties and include:
- A 9-year old Quarter horse mare in Moses Lake which became ill but is improving with treatment. That horse was last vaccinated for the virus four years ago.
- A 5-year old Quarter horse mare in Moses Lake contracted the virus and was euthanized. There was no vaccine history for this horse.
- A 14-year old Quarter horse gelding in Ellensburg contracted the virus and was euthanized. It appeared the horse had not been vaccinated for at least the past five years.
- A 5-year old Appaloosa mare in Almira became ill and was euthanized. It did not appear that the mare had been vaccinated for the virus.
This summer, there have been several cases of horses with West Nile virus in Adams, Benton, Franklin and Yakima counties. So far, no equine cases involving Western Washington horses have been reported.
West Nile virus is a reportable disease, so veterinarians who learn of potential cases in horses or other animals should inform the State Veterinarian’s Office in Olympia by calling (360) 902-1881.