Second West Nile Virus Horse Euthanized In Kentucky

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The Kentucky state veterinarian's office reported this evening that a 5-year-old Tennessee Walking Horse gelding in Nelson County has tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV). The gelding began showing clinical signs on July 9, and his ataxia (incoordination) was so severe that he was euthanized on July 10.

Diagnostic tests done at the University of Kentucky's Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center determined that the horse had been affected by WNV. That result was supported by testing done at the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa. That confirmation was received by the Kentucky State Veterinarian's office this afternoon, said Rusty Ford of the State Veterinarian's office.

Only one other horse had pending tests for WNV, but those tests came back this afternoon as negative.

Seven birds and one other horse have tested positive for WNV in Kentucky in 2002. The other horse, a Thoroughbred yearling colt which also was euthanized, was from Fayette County. Two birds were found in Jefferson and Metcalfe Counties, and one each was found in Laurel, Oldham, and Woodford Counties. Last year, eight horses in Kentucky tested positive for WNV.

Don Notter, the Kentucky state veterinarian, has approved 77,300 doses of WNV vaccine to be shipped to Kentucky veterinarians this year.