West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture Warns Horse Owners of - WBOY - Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture Warns Horse Owners of West Nile Virus

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West Virginia's Commissioner of Agriculture Walt Helmick is warning horse owners to control mosquitoes around their animals to reduce the chance of them getting the West Nile Virus.

West Nile is highly infective in horses, although not always fatal.

Helmick said acting now can make it easier to spot potential problem areas. Helmick recommends that people contact their local veterinarians about getting their horses vaccinated.

Currently, no drugs exist to treat West Nile Virus in horses. Treatment for an infected horse consists of supportive therapy to prevent the animal from injuring itself. If an animal shows symptoms as stumbling gait, facial paralysis, drooping or disinterest in their surroundings, owners should consult their veterinarians.

"The most important thing farmers can do is eliminate standing water around barns, and other places where animals gather and mosquitoes breed. Eliminating old tires or poorly draining areas can go a long way toward protecting your horses," said Helmick.

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