Posted: Aug 30, 2013 10:07 PM by Victoria Fregoso - MTN News
BILLINGS - The West Nile Virus has claimed the lives of six horses here in Montana just this week.
Reports of the virus started coming in last week Friday on August 23rd.
As of this Friday afternoon, Dr. Tahnee Szymanski with the Montana Department of Livestock said 11 cases have been reported in ten Montana counties. Those counties are Cascade, Blaine, Phillips, McCone, Big Horn, Stillwater, Petroleum, Musselshell, Pondera and Custer.
Three of those horses are expected to make a full recovery while one is under examination. Another horse was just diagnosed this Friday morning and its status is yet to be determined.
Of these 11 horses, nine did not have their vaccination, which brings up the topic of prevention.
Vaccinations are the number one way to prevent the virus but topical insecticides like "Brute Pour On" and "Gardstar" are also good alternatives and can last up to seven days.
"Some of the signs of West Nile can be depression, loss of appetite, but they can also progress including muscle tremors, convulsion or seizure, and then weakness and a stumbled gait," said Dr. Tierney Hall with Alpine Veterinary Service in Billings. "So any kind of gait abnormality or stumbling, then weakness in the limbs as well.
This is the same type of West Nile virus that could infect humans. It is a brain and central nervous system virus that causes swelling of the brain.
To decrease the mosquito population, it's also advised to get rid of any standing water near your home.