West Nile Virus detected in horse in Orrville

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 12, 2002

A horse from the Orrville area has tested positive for being infected with West Nile Virus.

Dr. Mark Lawrence of Selma Animal Hospital is treating the horse. It is believed to be the first confirmed case of the virus in a horse in Dallas County this year.

The virus, which can be fatal if left untreated, is most often transmitted by mosquitoes, which carry the disease from infected birds.

People are susceptible to the disease, as well.

Lawrence estimated that the disease proves fatal in horses roughly 40 percent of the time. He said that the infected horse has shown some improvement since being brought in for treatment.

Among the symptoms of West Nile Virus are muscle weakness, fever, partial paralysis, convulsion, coma and death.

Lawrence said veterinarians recommend vaccinating horses to prevent infection from the virus. The procedure consists of a single shot, followed by a booster after three weeks, followed by shots twice a year after that.

He added that in addition to West Nile Virus, veterinarians also currently recommend that horses be vaccinated against tetanus, rabies and encephalitis, or sleeping sickness.