Mosquitoes are still active; vaccinate your horses...and a CWD report is published

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board of animal health

Animal Bytes

October 2020

Benton County horse euthanized due to Eastern equine encephalitis


An 11-year-old quarter horse mare in Benton County was euthanized and confirmed to have had Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) last week. National Veterinary Services Laboratories reported the EEE-positive results to the Board of Animal Health and also reported the animal was negative for West Nile virus (WNV).

Before the horse died it was showing clinical signs of neurologic disease including, staggering, recumbency, and muscle tremors. Samples were initially submitted to the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory for rabies testing. The rabies samples were negative and additional tests were ordered for the other diseases.

“The diseases EEE, WEE, and WNV in horses can be limited through vaccination protocols and decreased exposure to mosquitoes,” said Board Senior Veterinarian, Dr. Brian Hoefs. “While COVID-19 has restricted many equine related activities, it is imperative to be vigilant about annual preventative care, including core vaccinations. We encourage all horse owners to work with their veterinarians to develop strategies for preventing EEE/WEE/WNV exposure and illness in their horses.”

The horse had no history of travel over the past 12 months or current vaccination for EEE. No other horses reside on the premises.

EEE can cause fatal infections in horses and people. The virus is primarily transmitted by mosquitoes. Horses and people are considered “dead end hosts” meaning they are unable to transmit the disease to other horses or people. In horses, EEE is fatal in more than 90-percent of cases, and clinical signs can include fever, lethargy, not eating and walking aimlessly.

Even though people cannot contract the disease from horses, cases in horses are a clear indication that infected mosquitoes are in the area and can infect humans. Clinical signs of EEE in people can include high fever, muscle pain, altered mental status, headache, meningeal irritation, photophobia, and seizures, which occur between three and 10 days after the bite of an infected mosquito. Consult your healthcare provider for additional information about EEE in people.

Keep reading...

CWD report published

The Board recently published a summary of the epidemiological report for the Douglas and Pine County CWD cases. The report is comprised of information gathered from the previous five years on animal movement and testing, and herd management of affected herds; the timeline of five years is set in consideration of CWD’s incubation period. Information collection is focused on identifying risk factors that could have led to CWD exposure, and if the herd is depopulated characterizing the spread of infection within the herd based on the CWD status of all herd members.

Read the epidemiological report.

USDA APHIS - Veterinary Export Health Certification System

USDA accredited veterinarians can submit export health certificates and supporting documents electronically to USDA through the Veterinary Export Health Certification System (VEHCS). USDA can also return documents electronically for any corrections or edits. This assists both owners and veterinarians by avoiding long drives or overnight shipping of documents to USDA for endorsement. Here are some of the benefits:

  • If the destination country accepts digital USDA endorsement, the accredited veterinarian can print the endorsed health certificate from their office as soon as it is endorsed.
  • By using VEHCS, veterinary clinic staff and brokers can assist accredited veterinarians in preparing the health certificate in VEHCS.
  • A dedicated Help Desk is available to answer your IT questions.
  • Both step-by-step guides and self-paced tutorials are available to help you navigate VEHCS.

Accredited veterinarians and clinic staff can start using VEHCS today:

  1. Visit the VEHCS Help Page:
  2. Sign in to start using VEHCS:
  3. Check the destination country’s requirements before getting started on a health certificate:

New Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service search tool

APHIS launched a public search tool for anyone to lookup accredited veterinarian information. It is iPhone and Android friendly and requires no login or special user access.