A horse in the eastern part of the state tested positive this month for Easter Equine Encephalomyelitis, a warning to horse owners across North Carolina to keep their animals up-to-date on vaccinations.
Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis is a viral disease that impacts the central nervous system of all members of the equine species. Humans can also contract the disease. Healthy adults who contract encephalomyelitis show flu-like symptoms. The equine mortality rate ranges from 75 to 90 percent.
Infected horses often show signs that include fever, depression, loss of appetite, irritability, weakness, excitability, central nervous system disorders (ie. circling, lack of coordination, head pressing, the tell-tale “saw horse” stance, sensitivity to light, and blindness). Horses should be vaccinated against the disease annually. In addition, measures to limit mosquito populations will help decrease spread of the disease. It is also important that horse owners report to a veterinarian any cases in which signs of encephalomyelitis are observed.