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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

West Nile virus claims Elmore County horse

Associated Press

BOISE – The first horse death attributed to West Nile virus in Idaho has occurred in Elmore County, Idaho Agriculture Department officials said.

“WNV is a devastating threat to horses. This horse had no history of vaccination or booster shots which are essential to the prevention of this disease,” state Veterinarian Clarence Siroky said Wednesday. “To date, the state of Idaho has had a total of three cases of equine infected with WNV.”

His agency stresses the importance of getting horses vaccinated against the disease, which is transmitted to them by mosquitoes that feed on infected birds.

A horse in Canyon County turned up with the virus last month. Symptoms in horses include depression, lack of appetite and coordination, circling behavior and muscle tremors. The horse may go down and be unable to rise. If it shows such symptoms, a veterinarian should be contacted immediately.

“One-third of unvaccinated sick horses die from this disease,” Siroky said. “The West Nile virus is in Idaho. We have expected it for two years and have worked with the Department of Health and Welfare to inform the public about preventive measures for the health of Idaho’s citizens and animals.”

Idaho residents also are advised to protect themselves from mosquitoes by bug-proofing homes and regularly changing standing water such as bird baths. They should stay indoors at dusk and dawn, the heaviest period for mosquitoes, and apply insect repellants with DEET.