State Veterinarian Dr. Robert Ehlenfeldt recently announced that twenty-five cases of Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) have been confirmed in Wisconsin since the middle of August. Most of these cases have been reported in north central Wisconsin in Dunn, Price, Lincoln, Taylor, Clark and Marathon Counties.
This disease is carried by mosquitoes and attacks the horse’s central nervous system with a mortality rate of 90 percent or higher. There are several signs of infection to watch for: drooping eyelids and lower lip, blindness, loss of appetite, depression, aimless wandering and sometimes paralysis. If your horse shows any of these signs, call your veterinarian for a diagnosis.
If your horse has already been vaccinated for EEE, booster shots are another form of protection. It may be too late for initial vaccines since it does require several weeks for immunity to build up. In order to limit horses’ exposure to mosquitoes, owners should eliminate any standing water and keep horses in barns from dusk to dawn.