COLUMBIA, CT (WFSB) -- A horse in Columbia had to be euthanized after it was found to have Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE).
The state’s Dept. of Agriculture said it’s the second equine case of EEE for 2019. The first was in Colchester.
On Aug. 11, the horse was found to be having trouble breathing, and was unable to stand in an open field.
A veterinarian found the Mustang to have a fever, and needed help walking and standing, and was seen staggering.
Officials said the horse was not current on its vaccinations for rabies, EEE, or West Nile Virus.
It was humanely euthanized.
Diagnostic samples tested confirmed the horse had EEE virus.
“Horse owners are reminded to review vaccination records with their veterinarians to ensure that EEE and WNV vaccinations are current and their horses are protected during the mosquito season. Horses are the domestic animals most susceptible to infection with EEE and WNV viruses. Neurological diseases of domestic animals, such as EEE and WNV, are reportable to the State Veterinarian.”
EEE was detected in mosquitoes in Voluntown at Mt. Misery as well as Pachaug Forest.
The Dept. of Energy and Environmental Protection closed the Mt. Misery campground and the nearby Horse Camp, also known as the Frog Hollow Horse Camp until further notice.
"It really is hard to treat. Like the flu, you can’t really treat the flu, you have to ride it out," said Dr. Andrea Dennis, of the Bloomfield Animal Hospital.
She said there is a slight chance household pets can contract the viruses too, like cats and dogs.
"When we do see it in dogs, as rare as it is, it’s usually in puppies. And those puppies are down and out, have no appetite and sometimes have diarrhea," Dennis said.
Because dogs and cats aren’t as susceptible to these viruses there aren’t vaccines for them, but it is still very important to keep them away from mosquitoes because Dennis said they can still deliver a lethal bite in the form of heart worms.
"That’s the big thing we really have to worry about in terms of mosquitoes here in Connecticut," Dennis said.
"There is medicine for heart worms, but the biggest piece of advice is to reduce their risk altogether by keeping pets inside during the times when mosquitoes are out in full force," Dennis said.
West Nile Virus has also been detected in Hartford at Keney Park, East Haven on Kenneth Street, Stamford on Intervale Road, Chester at Cockaponset State Forest, and Voluntown.
Preventing mosquito bites:
- Be aware that mosquitoes are most active between dusk and dawn and take preventative steps during that time.
- Be sure door and window screens are tight fitting and in good repair.
- Wear shoes, socks, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors for long periods, or when mosquitoes are most active. Clothing should be light colored and made of tightly woven materials that keep mosquitoes away from the skin.
- Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in an unscreened structure and to protect small babies when outdoors.
- Use mosquito repellent, according to directions, when it is necessary to be outdoors.
Preventing mosquitoes at home:
- Dispose of water-holding containers such as ceramic pots, used tires, and tire swings.
- Drill holes in the bottom of containers such as those used for recycling.
- Clean clogged roof gutters.
- Turn over objects that may trap water when not in use such as wading pools and wheelbarrows.
- Change water in bird baths on a weekly basis.
- Use landscaping techniques to eliminate areas where water can collect on your property.