West Nile Virus has been confirmed in two horses, one in Ingham County and the other in Kent County. The exact locations of the horses wasn't released.
The virus is a mosquito-borne disease affecting both humans and animals causing influenza-like symptoms. In some cases, infants and older people who may be weak from other illnesses may require hospitalization.
"Horses can be sentinel animals for what is going on around us," said State Veterinarian Dr. James Averill in a Thursday release from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
"If a horse is sick, you can be sure there is reason to be cautious."
According to Dr. Averill, the signs of West Nile Virus in horses may include stumbling, tremors, skin twitching, struggling to get up and facial paralysis. Also, high body temperature, impaired vision and seizures.
Since West Nile Virus is spread to horses through the bite of an infected mosquito, protection measures reducing exposure to mosquito bites should be adopted. Horse owners should follow these tips to prevent mosquito-borne illness:
1. Vaccinate. WNV vaccines are inexpensive and readily available. It is not too late to
2. Use approved insect repellents to protect horses and follow label instructions.
3. If possible, put horses in stables, stalls, or barns, preferably under fans, during the prime
4. Eliminate standing water and drain troughs, and large containers at least once a week.