West Nile virus reported in horse in county
State officials have received the first reported equine case of West Nile virus this year. The case was diagnosed Aug. 14 in a 3-month-old colt from Montezuma County.
The transmission of the West Nile virus varies from year to year, but the disease can be carried by infected birds and then spread locally by mosquitoes to humans and animals.
A news release from the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association states infected horses may display symptoms including head tilt, muscle tremors, stumbling, lack of coordination, weakness of the limbs or partial paralysis.
Vaccines have proved to be a very effective prevention tool, but horses that have been vaccinated in past years will need an annual booster shot, according to the press advisory.
In addition to vaccinations, horse owners also need to reduce the mosquito populations and their possible breeding areas, the advisory warns.
Recommendations include removing stagnant water sources, keeping animals inside during the bugs' feeding times, which are typically early in the morning and evening, and using mosquito repellents.
Laboratory testing is required for actual diagnosis, and horse owners are encouraged to consult their private practicing veterinarian to determine an appropriate disease prevention plan for their horses.