Crawford Co. horse dies of West Nile Virus

Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 7:35 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - A horse in Crawford County has died after contracting West Nile Virus (WNV) Monday and state officials say this is the first confirmed case in a horse in over two years.

A 9-year-old Belgian/Standardbred gelding who was unvaccinated for West Nile died of the virus, according to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP).

DATCP noted that while humans can be infected with WNV, it does not pass between people and horses. People would have to be bit by a mosquito with the virus.

The agency asked horse owners to look out for WNV symptoms in horses, which include fever, high-end weakness and muscle tremors. It is fatal in 30-40% of horses who show symptoms. Officials also noted it can cause brain inflammation in horses and people.

This is the first confirmed case of West Nile Virus in a horse since 2018 in Wisconsin.

DATCP urged equine owners to discuss getting horses vaccinated against the virus with their veterinarians, as well as help limit horses from exposure to it.

These practices include removing items from the property that can collect stagnant waters, keeping gutters clean and keeping horses in a barn from dawn till dusk.

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