New detections of West Nile Virus in California horses

A dangerous disease, west Nile virus, has returned to California this summer.  Last week, four horses were diagnosed with the disease – two in Sacramento County and one each in Kern and Placer counties. Two of the horses have been euthanized due to the severity of neurologic signs, and the other two are alive and receiving veterinary care.

Horse owners are reminded to have their animals vaccinated to make sure they are maximizing protection against the disease. And once vaccinations occur, horse owners should be checking regularly with their veterinarians to make sure they stay current.

Californians can also do their part to prevent the disease by managing mosquitoes that carry west Nile virus. Eliminate standing water and work to limit mosquito access to horses by stabling during active mosquito feeding times (typically dusk to dawn), and by utilizing fly sheets, masks or permethrin-based mosquito repellents.

It’s important to remember that mosquitoes become infected with the virus when they feed on infected birds.  Horses are a dead-end host and do not spread the virus to other horses or humans. For more information on west Nile virus, please visit this link.

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