Protect your horses - why Vaccinate?
What is the West Nile Virus?
The West Nile Virus (WNV) is a viral disease that can result in fever and neurologic disease. WNV circulates in nature between birds and mosquitoes.
When a mosquito takes a bite of an infected bird, that mosquito is then able to transmit the virus to horses, humans, and many different species of birds. Horses are considered a dead end host meaning the virus cannot be transmitted to other species.
How was Ginger diagnosed?
Diagnosis of WNV is typically based on clinical signs and serology testing. It’s important to emphasize that many clinical signs of WNV closely resemble a number of other equine neurological diseases like Eastern equine encephalitis, rabies, EPM and equine herpesvirus-1. Twitching of Ginger's muzzle and lower lip were the most obvious signs. In some cases, you will even see twitching of the muscles in the neck, shoulders and chest region.
Next, a full neurologic exam was performed. When Ginger was walked in a tight circle, the observation revealed that Ginger would “swing” her hind legs rather than crossing them.
Lastly, you can observe how Ginger performed when her line of vision was removed by lifting her head. Notice how she appears to be reaching or feeling for her next step. A normal horse will instantly place their legs in the right position as they walk. There should be no hesitation.
After the observation, a blood test was sent to the lab to confirm if WNV was present.