LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — State officials are warning animal owners to take precautions after a sick horse in Clare County in central Michigan tested positive for West Nile virus.
The horse, a Standardbred mare, fell ill on Sept. 18, and showed symptoms like poor coordination and weakness in her hindlimbs before testing positive for West Nile virus, said State Veterinarian Nora Wineland in a news release.
“The horse was unvaccinated against the disease. This case fundamentally highlights why animal owners need to continue taking precautions to protect their animals from mosquito-borne disease,” Wineland said.
As of Sept. 28, 10 people in Michigan have been infected with West Nile so far this year.
It may be October, but officials said the mosquitoes carrying diseases like West Nile will be alive and active until at least one hard freeze. While the mosquitoes are still around, you can protect your horses by vaccinating them against mosquito-borne illnesses, using insect repellent on them and keeping them in a barn when mosquitoes are at their worst.
Officials also warn that you should contact a vet if a horse shows signs of illness, like mild fever and stumbling that can progress to being down and struggling to stand.
Funding is available to test animals for mosquito-borne diseases. For details, you can contact the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development at 800-292-3939.