Mosquitoes spread highly-lethal horse disease to SC - FOX Carolina 21

Mosquitoes spread highly-lethal horse disease to SC

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A halter-type quarter horse (Courtesy: Wikipedia) A halter-type quarter horse (Courtesy: Wikipedia)
COLUMBIA, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Horse owners in South Carolina are told to beware of the first case of a deadly disease identified in the state this year.

State veterinarian Boyd Parr said a horse from Dillon County was diagnosed with Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) on July 21.

The disease is a mosquito-borne illness which kills 90 percent of unvaccinated horses exposed to EEE. Veterinarians said the vaccine minimizes the risk to horses and other equine species.

Symptoms in horses include stumbling, circling, head-pressing, depression or apprehension, weakness of legs, partial paralysis, inability to stand, muscle twitching and death. These symptoms usually appear two to five days after a horse is exposed to EEE.

In 2013, South Carolina led the country with 49 horses infected with EEE; all but one of them died. This is the first case in 2017 which has been identified in the state.

State law requires livestock owners to report any signs of neurological problems, including stumbling, circling, head-pressing, depression or apprehension, within 48 of being present. To report symptoms, call the state veterinarian's office at 1-803-788-2260.

“It can get out of hand if we don’t vaccinate horses and control mosquitoes,” Parr said. “The best defense for horse owners is to maintain current equine vaccinations for Eastern Equine Encephalitis, West Nile virus and rabies for their horses.”

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