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Southbury Horse Tests Positive for West Nile Virus

Southbury horse is one of two horses in Connecticut with the virus, the other has been euthanized.

Southbury Horse Tests Positive for West Nile Virus

The Connecticut Department of Agriculture announced Tuesday the first domestic animal cases of West Nile Virus (WNV) infection for 2012.

According to the department, a four-year-old horse from Southbury was presented on August 27 with lethargy and stumbling on its front feet. The horse developed a fever and became progressively more depressed and uncoordinated. 

A blood sample submitted to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) was found positive for WNV.  The horse was treated by attending veterinarians and is currently recovering.

A 31-year-old horse from South Windsor was humanely euthanized by a veterinarian last week.  A diagnostic sample also confirmed positive for WNV.

Both horses had no documented history of a completed WNV vaccination series and they had not traveled.  A WNV vaccine for horses has been available through licensed veterinarians since 2001, according to the department.

"Horse owners should review their animals' vaccination records with their veterinarians to ensure that WNV and Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis (EEE) vaccinations are current and their horses are protected during the mosquito season," said Dr. Mary Jane Lis, state veterinarian for the Connecticut Department of Agriculture in a release issued Tuesday.

Nationally, as of September 4, officials in 33 states have reported 187 WNV equine cases.  Horses are the domestic animals most susceptible to infection with the virus.  Neurological diseases of domestic animals, such as WNV and EEE, are reportable to the state veterinarian, according to the department.

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