Lloydminster Animal Hospital has their first West Nile case in four years. West Nile attacks the central nervous system and usually results in mild flu-like symptoms or no symptoms at all.
Veterinarian Trent Wennekamp discovered WNV in a horse last Thursday, blood samples were taken due to the state the animal was in.
“The horse had what we would call neurological signs. Mainly what was happening, and this is common in West Nile, he was kind of falling over on the back end. He was unsteady and its because it causes inflammation of the spinal cord.”
Wennekamp says it’s rare to see cases in animals other than birds and horses. According to the Government of Saskatchewan, there have been no cases of Horses or birds spreading the virus to humans.
“What we find with most of these cases is if they don’t go down like they can stay standing for the first 24-48 hours their prognosis is much better. If you do get a situation when they go down and cant rise, then that prognosis is worse.”
The last case Wennekamp witnessed was in 2014, he says most cases occur during warm weather and making sure your horse is vaccinated can prevent the virus.
“West Nile is carried by a mosquito called Culex tarsalis. That mosquito requires at least three weeks of above 25 degrees Celsius to see a significant population that mosquito. You’re only going to see them in years that it is warm.”