Insect borne illness striking down horses

Discussion in 'News Items' started by HorseSlave, Mar 23, 2011.

  1. HorseSlave

    HorseSlave Well-known Member

    This is in the eastern states. Cut and pasted from the ABC news website: Insect borne illness striking down horses - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

    Insect borne illness striking down horses

    Posted Tue Mar 15, 2011 7:04am AEDT

    A potentially fatal neurological illness affecting horses across the state has been detected in the Wellington district in western New South Wales.

    Industry and Investment New South Wales is investigating whether the mystery disease is an infection spread by insects.

    The symptoms include mild colic and depression, followed by a lack of coordination and facial paralysis.

    A Dubbo equine veterinarian, Doctor Ross Pedrana, says he has treated a 15 month old filly which is recovering and is urging horse owners to be alert to the symptoms.

    "The other sign you do see with these horses is they've got what you call hypometria which means their front legs they actually raise them up in a very exaggerated way.

    "It's something in the more subtle and early cases people could miss, but certainly it's something to watch out for."

    He says there have been three deaths in Victoria and at least one in New South Wales.

    "Just watch and be observant of your horses because it can result in death.

    "In this weather where we're getting days of 28 to 30 degrees, they could certainly perish from quite simply being unable to drink if they're paddock horses.

    "So go and examine them every day and make sure you see they can actually eat," he said.

    The state's Chief Veterinary Officer, Ian Roth, says horse owners should try to protect their animals from insect bites to reduce the risk of infection.

    He says they should not be unduly alarmed as in most cases the horses have gradually recovered.

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