MADISON, Wis. — An unvaccinated yearling horse from Clark County was infected with West Nile Virus and euthanized, according to the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.
“It’s been a very wet summer so far this year, which contributes to a growing mosquito problem,” said Dr. Julie McGwin, equine program veterinarian for the department.
While the virus is not contagious between horses, it can be carried by mosquitos from a bird host to horses and humans.
Horses that have not already been vaccinated this year for WNV or other mosquito-borne diseases are at greater risk.
“Those horse owners who have vaccinated should check with their veterinarians to see whether a booster is appropriate,” McGwin said.
Vaccinations for horses are delivered twice, two to four weeks apart. The vaccine takes at least two weeks to build up to full protection.
Other steps to prevent infection include:
• Removing items from property that could collect stagnant water.
• Keeping rain gutters clean and draining properly.
• Turning wading pools and wheelbarrows upside down.
• Emptying and replacing water in birdbaths at least once a week.
• Consider keeping horses in the barn from dusk to dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
Last year Wisconsin had seven confirmed cases of the virus in horses.