The Washington State Department of Agriculture is suggesting that horse owners make sure that their animal’s vaccination is current for West Nile virus protection.
A 2-year-old gelding near Grandview was euthanized in August 2012 because it became ill with West Nile virus after a mosquito bite. The horse was not vaccinated for the disease.
Although most horses infected with the virus do not become ill, the virus is fatal in about one-third. Horses can lose coordination and appetite, become confused, and have a fever, stiffness and muscle weakness. Infected horses do not spread West Nile virus to other horses or animals.
Horse owners also can protect their animals by removing standing water from yards and barns because it can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes, removing old tires and garbage, changing water in troughs or bird baths at least weekly, keeping horses in stalls or screened areas during the early morning and evening when mosquitoes are most active and using fans inside barns for air movement.
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Veterinarians who learn of potential cases in horses or other animals should call the State Veterinarian’s Office at 360-902-1881.