Minnesota’s first case of West Nile virus in 2022 reported in Kandiyohi County horse

5 August 2022

KANDIYOHI COUNTY, Minn. — State officials have confirmed the first case of West Nile virus in Minnesota this year in an unvaccinated horse.

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health says that a 4-year-old Quarter Horse mare was euthanized in July due to deteriorating neurologic conditions. Tests confirmed that the mare died of West Nile virus. 

The other 30 horses at the same Kandiyohi County facility are up to date on their vaccinations, the owner says.

West Nile virus is primarily carried by birds and spread through mosquitoes, which can transmit the virus to horses or people. Infected horses cannot spread the virus to people or other horses, the board says.

The board is encouraging horse owners to make sure their animals are up to date on vaccines.

“Horse owners and their veterinarians should keep a routine vaccination program, including West Nile virus, to reduce the risk of preventable diseases and increase the animal’s chances of recovering fully if they’re infected,” said Dr. Brian Hoefs, senior Veterinarian of the Equine Program.

Owners can reduce the risk of West Nile virus by reducing mosquito presence. The board recommends changing water in drinking troughs, mowing tall grass, and removing items mosquitoes use for breeding grounds, like old tires and tin cans.

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Author: WCCO Staff

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