West Nile virus confirmed in miniature horse

Published 11:41 pm Wednesday, August 1, 2018

ST. PAUL — Minnesota veterinary officials are urging horse owners to get their animals vaccinated against West Nile virus.

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health said the mosquito-borne disease was confirmed last week in a 3-year-old miniature horse in Pine City. Officials say it’s the first equine case of West Nile in Minnesota this year.

The stallion had no record of being vaccinated against the disease. A mare and a foal also living on the property are currently healthy.

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Equine program manager Courtney Wheeler said the case is a reminder for owners to have their horses vaccinated against the disease.

The last confirmed case of West Nile in a Minnesota horse was November 2017. Infected horses can be anorexic and show neurologic signs or behavior changes.

Reducing exposure to mosquitoes also can reduce disease risk.