Skip to content

Health Advisory Issued for Tennessee Horse Owners



An advisory by the state veterinarian and other animal health care officials has been issued to horse owners regarding the possible re-emergence of eastern equine encephalitis. The disease is transmitted, much like the West Nile virus, through mosquitoes.

“Horse owners should be aware of symptoms of viral encephalitis and consult their local veterinarian should their horse develop any signs associated with this group of diseases,” said state veterinarian Ron Wilson.

The first case in Tennessee was confirmed some time last week in Anderson County. Cases have also been reported in the nearby states of Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Health officials are also concerned about other mosquito-borne diseases because of the expected increase in the number of West Nile cases during the summer months.

Both equine encephalitis and West Nile virus are transmitted when a mosquito feeds on an infected bird and then passes it on to horses.

Even though eastern equine encephalitis occurs sporadically in Tennessee, the mortality rate in horses is high, according to Wilson. He also believes the spread of West Nile has increased awareness of other nervous system diseases, including eastern equine encephalitis.

It is extremely important for horse owners to know and understand the symptoms for both West Nile and eastern equine encephalitis. Symptoms for both diseases include decreased alertness, blindness or impaired vision, aimless wandering or circling, head pressing, inability to swallow and convulsions.

“Definitive diagnosis is important in tracking the spread of viral infections,” Wilson said. “It requires a commitment on the part of the horse owners working with their local veterinarian and verifying test results through laboratory analysis.”

Vaccines protecting against encephalitis and western equine encephalitis, a variant of the disease, are currently available. An approved West Nile vaccine is also available. Wilson urges horse owners to review their horse’s immunization records.

The State Department of Agriculture’s Kord Animal Laboratory located in Nashville provides diagnostic services for livestock owners and private veterinarians. For more information, please call the state veterinarian’s office at 615-837-5120.

More Stories

  • A Memorable First Trip To Oklahoma

    Taylor Ladd arrived in Oklahoma to compete for the first time this year, but she had the success of a seasoned veteran. The walk-trot rider left the fairgrounds with two World Championships, one Reserve World Championship, and three Grand National titles under the direction of Taylor River Farm. Read More
  • Highlights from Morgan Grand National

    Enjoy the victory passes and interviews from Oklahoma City on ReporTV! Read More
  • REPORT Leaderboard MGN FINAL

    It's official! The REPORT Leaderboard for the 2017 Morgan Grand National and World Championship Horse Show is final. Wow!  All the hard work all year really paid off! Congratulations to all the winners - blue ribbon and otherwise!

     

    Read More
  • Interview at Sterling Training Center

    In the interview that follows, trainer Katie Mair and owners Mary and Natalie Golota share their thoughts following Katie's win with As Predicted GCH at the Morgan Grand National.  Read More
  • Interview at Cater Stables

    In the interview that follows, trainer Kristen Cater and proud owner Lila Tater share their thoughts following Kristen's victory in Hunter Pleasure with Epona's Mo'O Lio GCH at Morgan Grand National.  Read More
  • Interview at Fire Stables Equestrian

    In the interview that follows, Elaine Galatz, Hannah McBain, Phil Fountain and Julianne Rafferty of Fire Stables Equestrian share their thoughts following a successful Morgan Grand National. Read More
  • REPORT Leaderboard MGN Thru Friday

    With only Saturday's finale performances to go, here's how the blue ribbon counts go in the REPORT Leaderboard through end of day Friday, October 13. Read More
  • A Family Bond

    The Youth of the Year contest tests the skills of young equestrian each year at the Morgan Grand National. Selina Cloutier had the honor of winning this prestigious competition in 1998, and this year, her daughter Clea is competing for the same title. Read More
  • Another Record Breaking Performance

    Morgan Grand National fans were treated to a history making performance on Thursday afternoon as Arcadia, Oklahoma resident Chloe Farischon became the first junior exhibitor to win the World Champion Four-Year-Old English Pleasure title. Read More
  • REPORT Leaderboard MGN Thru Thursday

    It's coming down to the wire and the competition is so close. Check out the REPORT Leaderboard standings as of Thursday, October 12. Read More