Confirmed case of equine West Nile reported in San Jacinto County
San Jacinto County authorities are warning area residents that the county’s first case of West Nile virus this year has claimed the life of a horse.
According to Pct. 3 Justice of the Peace Randy Ellisor, a 17-year-old mare had to be put down due to her deteriorating condition as a result of the virus.
The horse’s medical issues were first reported on Friday, Oct. 21, by a homeowner on FM 1725 near the Bear Creek Volunteer Fire Department. The horse was unable to stand.
Local veterinarian Dr. Merry Vann arrived at the home to conduct tests. The mare was found to be positive for West Nile and was euthanized. The owner’s other three horses were vaccinated.
“As a reminder, this deadly virus applies to horses as well as humans. This virus does not apply to dogs, cats and cattle, to the best of our knowledge. Animal owners, please do your diligence and determine the impact, if any, on you and your animals,” Ellisor said.
According to the American Association of Equine Practitioners, West Nile virus carries a fatality rate of 33 percent for all horses exhibiting signs of the infection.
Symptoms include seizures, fever, weakness and/or paralysis of the hind limbs, impaired vision, weakness, aimless wandering and head pressing.
West Nile virus, as well as equine encephalitis, can be prevented by an inexpensive vaccine found through local veterinarians and farm supply stores. Once a horse has the virus, however, it is too late to receive the vaccine.
In the summer of 2015, several cases of fatal equine encephalitis were reported in Texas, including one in Liberty County.