The outbreak of mosquitoes this summer is prompting state officials to remind horse owners to get their animals vaccinated against Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile Virus.
Dr. Darlene Konkle from the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection says the disease's onset is sudden...
"...it's a neurologic disease in horses, it's a virus. It attacks the nervous system in horses. It can be quite sudden in onset. Often the horse becomes uncorordinated, drooping lip and drooping eyelids. The common name for this disease used to be sleeping sickness...."
She says the horse can rapidly go down and can't get up and could die quickly. She says in 2011 they had 34 horse deaths, mostly in the northwestern part of Wisconsin. 9 out of 10 horses affected will die.
She says the deaths are preventable...
"...there's a vaccine available for EEE that is quite effective. In fact, the American Association of Equine Practitioners recommends that vaccine as one of their core vaccines for all horses..."
Dr. Konkle says while humans can contract both encephalitis and West Nile Virus, it does not transfer from horses to people.