BROOMFIELD, Colo. – Ten equine cases of West Nile Virus have been found across Colorado, officials with the State Department of Agriculture said Thursday.
The highest number of incidences were found in Weld County with a total of three confirmed cases, while Adams, Garfield, Larimer, Mesa, Montrose, Pueblo and Rio Blanco counties all reported one case each, according to a news release from the department.
A total of four horses have been euthanized due to the severity of the clinical signs, said Mary Peck, spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Agriculture. This season, veterinarians are reporting more of the horses seem to be acutely neurologic with severe symptoms, she added.
Vaccines have proved to be a very effective tool against equine West Nile Virus, and horses that have been vaccinated in past years are recommended to get an annual booster.
If a horse hasn’t been vaccinated in previous years, they will need a two-shot vaccination series within a three to four-week period, Peck said.
Horse owners are also encouraged to reduce mosquito populations and their possible breeding areas where horses are located.
Some of those measures 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.
If a horse displays clinical signs consistent with neurologic disease, a complete veterinary examination is warranted, Peck said. All infectious or contagious neurologic diseases must be reported to the Colorado State Veterinarian’s Office.