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Michelle@wescofarms

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As I mentioned in a response to Carolyn's (Frankie) post - we've had Vet bill heck this year! Our horses have found new and interesting ways to injure themselves and have come up with illness too!

Our latest is our Senior Stallion, Samis Roger Rabbit, being diagnosed with West Nile Virus last week. Roger was slated to go to the AMHR Nationals this year in the under 28" class, but will probably be home, even though he's well on the road to recovery.

I did want to share this with everyone, as Roger didn't have the classic 'WNV' symptoms and the vets were surprised that he actually did have it.

Anyway, on July 29th, Roger seemed to be limping on one back leg, and as we'd just re-fenced his pen assumed he'd caught his leg in it. The next day he seemed a bit worse, but was still eating, peeing, pooping, screaming at the mares (tried to breed one through the fence), no fever - so we assumed again that he had pulled something. By Monday 1st we had a call into the vet (another horse need an eye removal), and mentioned his symptoms. No one seemed overly concerned, even though he was a bit unsteady on both legs by now.

Tuesday, he lost control of his back legs - he seemed like a drunk or someone coming out of anesthetia from the hips back. He'd take a few steps fine, then walk on the front of his hoof, then get them under him, and repeat. Turning was a problem and he'd go down. By the time he went to the vet's he'd lost control of his tail - it was like he'd had a spinal block. He stumbled off the trailer, but was still screaming at the mares and trotting on his front end - we were supporting most of his weight on the back.

The vets started treating him for EPM (assuming that was the most likely cause), did a spinal tap to rule out lymphoma and to check for inflammation - an indicator of WNV or EPM. It came back normal. While at the vets he never spiked a fever, blood count was normal, spinal x-ray normal, he never went off his feed, perfect bowel function, he even escaped from his stall one day in search of mares (apparently screamed for them the whole time!), all with his drunked back end walk/trot.

The results came back positive for WNV on Friday 5th, and he came home - he actually walked off the trailer. We did take him in to our holistic vet who has him on a immune support program for the next 30 days along with Banamine to keep the inflammation down.

Our mainstream vet's did mention that they rarely see minis with WNV, and the do not seem to contract it as often as large horses. I'm wondering if they do, but just don't have as severe reactions. Roger didn't, and we're watching the rest like a hawk. They also believe as Roger was clipped for a recent show it was probably easier for the mosquitos to bite him. He was also the one most heavily sprayed for mosquitos (Deep Woods OFF), but was still bit.

Anyway, I wanted to share with everyone, if you're on the West Coast it is here. The closest case to us was over 25 miles away last year, so go figure!

Edit to add - we didn't vaccinate for WNV this year so no flames it was a personal choice along with a screw up from AgriMed!
 
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Pepipony

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Sorry to hear he has it, but very glad he is doing well
My ol man came down w/it a few years back, they were out of the vaccine and he was between the first and booster. He did have it rather bad and with all the classic symptoms. Can tell you he was a beast to load, all 1250 lbs LOL he was SO unsteady, poor ol dude.

Its amazing how many horses come down w/it that have been vaccinated. TG he was my only one, knock wood.

If he is doing well, why not show him?
 

mizbeth

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I hope he continues to do well for you Michelle!

No flames from me, we all do what we have to do, or need to do!

Beth
 

SILVER

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No flames from here, and hope from no where else as it is a personal choice. I hope he bounces back without any after effects. Hope he is able to make the show.
 

wcr

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Flames? May you fry to a crisp. Only kidding. Haven't talked to you since you got him home so what did the holistic vet have to say? What are you giving him?
 

Minimor

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Actually the symptoms you describe are quite typical of WNV. Many affected horses start out the same way as yours; of course many do go on & get worse, to the point where they are head pressing, have drooping lips, inability to eat, facial twitches..and then to where they go down & cannot rise. Fever may be present in early stages; more often it seems to be not present at all.

We've had two horses with it; the first was months before WNV was supposed to be here. His rear end was affected, but only to the point where he was stiff & uncoordinated. We didn't know what it was--didn't even think of WNV at that time--but our vet just happened to treat him with Pre-Def, which is one of the preferred drugs for WNV, and he got better. Several months later when the disease was rampant here we had another horse come down with it. She started out exactly the same as our gelding; then just as we thought she was getting better, she got drastically worse. She had the dropping lips, facial twitches, head pressing--she couldn't eat unless I put the food into her mouth, then she could chew sometimes. Other times she stood there totally oblivious to me.

At the time our first horse was sick I spent 3 days in hospital with what I now believe was WNV. I was admitted with possible meningitis (severe headache, even worse stiff neck, rash). Meningitis was ruled out, and they said it was "just a virus". Remember, at that point in time there wasn't one case of WNV within 1000 miles of here, and we had very few mosquitoes...though there were a few around, as I'd complained one day about having mosquito bites in APRIL!

Anyway...to the person that asks why not show? I can tell you that after I was sick that spring, it took me weeks to recuperate. I was off work just 1 week, but it was at least a month before I started to feel pretty good again. Never have I felt so run down, dragged out, depressed & exhausted as I did that month. If a horse feels at all the same way in the aftermath of WNV, there is no way he'd be at his best to show in a months time. Just my view of it!

That first year our horses were not vaccinated, only because the vaccine was not available here until too late to be of any value. By the time horses were vaccinated & developed immunity, mosquito season was over. Ours have been vaccinated every year since. The disease--and the Culix tarsalis mosquitoes that carrry it--is now present here. Because the mosquitoes have been so bad all summer we have not clipped the horses--a bit of a coat offers some protection from mosquito bites, though really this year the skeeters are so bad here the horses are going to have bites no matter how fuzzy they are.

I know someone that had 2 minis affected by WNV that first year the virus was here. One was quite sick but did recover; the other one died. So, I wouldn't count on Minis not getting too ill from WNV. OVerall they may be less likely to get the disease, just because many Minis tend to have thicker coats & may get fewer bites....I've heard foals are less often affected than mature horses, and the vets credit that to the thicker baby coats...but they still can get deathly ill.
 
L

Lisa-Ruff N Tuff Minis

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I am glad he is getting better. Funny you shouldsay that your vet or you feel that they might not get as sick.

I have always been of the belief that like people many horses get WNV and dont get it to a really bad extent but like humans can just get in a bit of a funk with some flu like symptoms for a few days.

We cant "prove" but do think one of my horses got it just like that. He came up with a very high temp for a day(106+) then a medium tem (like 102-103ish) Of course after the vet came and looked at him and found no respitory issues and nothing else that seemed wrong my own mind started thinking hmmmm wonder if he could have WN it was just confirmed a few miles from us

He didnt get any signs of his hind end going off or being wobblybut he did keep stretching and had NO signs of colic it was a different kind of stretch I described to my vet he came by to see cause he was just curious.. well in a day or 2 he was much better but still not 100 percent within about 5 days he was back to normal no one else got sick and in fact they all got there WNV about 7 days later it was right after we gave the vaccines and walked to the truck the vet said darn we should have checked him and ran tieters before we gave him the vaccine just cause i am curious if what we suspect was true.

Leave it to us to not think of it or shoudl I say not remember we thought of it till it was to late


Anyway after all of that I am very glad your guy is getting better must have been very scary
 

Cathy_H

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Good to hear your horse is recovering.
Thanks for sharing the information. Don't see why anyone would feel they need to flame you! ................. Minimor- Sounded like a rough time there- Glad to hear all is ok.
 

Magic

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Oh my, how very frightening!! I'm so glad he is on the mend.

I've not given my WNV boosters yet this year, I just didn't think of it (except for a few mares that got theirs really early in the year before being bred) with everything else going on. Tried to order some online one day and the computer crashed before I could finalize it. And WNV is HERE, finally, too.

Guess I'd better call my vet immediately and get her out to give boosters, I am terrified of WNV....

No flames from me for not giving it though. We all have to make our own decisions on what we feel will be best for our horses, etc.

I'm sorry he may not be able to make it to nationals.
 

Jill

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I'm happy your guy is on the road to feeling okay again!

I've been wondering if WNV was not as common or as big a problem as before? Or maybe just old news? For the last several years, there were frequent news updates but I've not heard anything about WNV this year on the news. I live in VA.

Lou has had her WNV booster, but the vet did send her blood off for testing for that, even though I was sure that's not the explaination for whatever is or was wrong with her. I got the results yesterday, which were negative as expected.
 

runamuk

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Glad to hear he is doing better......

Jill the main reason we aren't hearing about it is because for the most part people across the country have now been exposed and are developing immunity....this virus has come and gone in cycles for a long time just like so many other viruses.......when a virus is new in a population it causes more severe reactions however the longer the virus remains in the population the more resistant we become and are better able to fight it off and develop immunity.......really over simplified......

I am pretty sure I had it last year mainly because I came down with a head ache that lasted well over a week along with some other flu type symptoms....never felt bad enough to go see a doctor though (ok I have to be on deaths door before I will see doctors
)
 

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