A High River vet clinic is cautioning horse owners about two positive cases of the West Nile virus they've seen over the past couple weeks.

Dr. Krista Gavel Thiessen with Highview Animal Clinic says, both horses showed neurological symptoms.

"They were both wobbly. One was having a difficult time standing, the other I believe was staggering a bit. The neurologic form is typically fatal. About 30 per cent of horses will die on their own even with treatment, but a larger number are euthanized because they are a danger to themselves or the people around them."

Both cases were east of High River and fatal.

Dr. Gavel Thiessen says, West Nile is transmitted by mosquitoes.

"The bird population can harbour the virus, and as mosquitoes feed on birds, and then feed on horses, it can be transmitted to the horse. Interestingly, it can also be transmitted to people in the same way."

She says, it's important to call your vet clinic if you see these symptoms, but the best way to manage the virus is through vaccinating your horses.

The vet clinic says they are aware of at least five other cases in southern Alberta.

" I would say in the last ten years we've seen the odd case," Dr. Gavel Thiessen said. "But not two in one year."

Dr. Gavel Thiessen adds, the West Nile virus is typically less of a concern this time of year, as it's more common in June and July.


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