Officials Say It's The 1st Equine Case Of 2018 In The State

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota animal health officials say a sick horse in Pine City has been confirmed to have West Nile Virus.

According to the Minnesota Board of Animal Health, it’s the first equine case of the disease for the year in Minnesota.

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Officials say the horse, a 3-year-old miniature horse, “presented with acute neurologic signs, exhibiting profound weakness in his front limbs, tripping and falling and requiring assistance to stand.”

The horse, who doesn’t have a documented history of vaccination against West Nile Virus, is now receiving supportive care.

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A mare and foal, who also live on the property, are healthy.

“This case is an unfortunate reminder of why it is so important that owners vaccinate their horses against this disease,” Equine Program Manager Dr. Courtney Wheeler said.

The last case of the disease affecting a horse in Minnesota was November 2017. There have been two documented human cases in Minnesota in 2018 to date.

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West Nile Virus is a zoonotic disease spread by mosquitoes, and thought to cycle between mosquitoes and birds. Mosquitoes contract the disease from birds and then spread to mammals and reptiles, most commonly humans and horses.