West Nile Virus In Horses

West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne virus affecting the central nervous systems of both humans and other animals. However, West Nile virus (WNV) cases in horses account for almost 97% of all non-human mammal cases of WNV. WNV is still fairly new in the United States, appearing on the east coast in 1999.


What is West Nile Virus in Horses?

WNV can cause serious illness and death in horses.  Only 2 out of every 3 infected horses exhibiting symptoms will make a full recovery despite no “cure”.


West Nile virus is perpetuated through a mosquito-bird-mosquito cycle of transmission. Mosquitos using birds as their blood-meal sources will transmit the virus to humans and horses.


- Consistent colic-type behavior - Muscle tremors or paralysis - Lack of coordination or weakness - Stumbling


- Drooped lower lip - Difficulty swallowing - Hind end weakness - Head pressing

Treatment & Prevention

- concentrated on continued nutrition. - The best methods of prevention for WNV are vaccination and mosquito control.

Although potentially fatal, mosquito control can be managed and vaccinations are available. If your horses exhibit any neurological symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.


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