In just one day, equestrian veterinarian Dr. Barbara Benhart saw neary to two dozen horses and treated them with the West Nile vaccine.
She's seen an increase within the past week. She blames the illness for recenlty killing a horse in Birmingham.
"It's scary but not surprising. It was just a matter of time," said Benhart.
Benhart was called to a Birmingham home about a horse with cold-like symptoms about two weeks ago. She said owners thought it may be colic.
"I saw it on a Sunday and it did not survive Monday," said Benhart.
Samples were taken and it was confirmed the horse died from the West Nile Virus. Before news of the recent death, Barron Hare had never given his horse, Romeo, the West Nile vaccine.
"A couple of friends told me about it and it kind of scared me so that's why I decided to get my horse vaccinated," said Hare.
Even though there's only been one confirmed death, Benhart believes there could be more.
"I think there's already been others. Maybe not documented but we've heard of other horses that have had similar clinical signs that were [sic] indicative of West Nile within the same area," said Benhart.
If your horse hasn't been vaccinated, Benhart suggests getting the core shots.
"That's the tetanus, Eastern/Western, West Nile, rabies. That's what we're recommending everyone vaccinate their horse for," said Benton.
Benhart said right now, there is only a vaccine for horses. She said some symptoms to look out for are un-coordination of your horse and a high temperature.
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