Just doing some pondering....

Dakota put Freeom in his feeding pen and gave him his mush...I beat feet down there hoping to mooch some, no such luck. I ran up and down the fence-line complaining...I still didn't get any mush, but I got the attention of a mare. The DOR was at the other end of the pasturewith treats tonight and I was so distracted by the cute mare and foal that is in the paddock by Freedom's feeding pen that I didn't go down to get them. Lucky for me, Dakota decided to wait on me and brought my tub down for me. I gobbled them and then meandered down to munch on some hay with Salty and Harley.
I have been thinking about this West Nile thing, I have been remembering some things that the DOR, her dad (who is a virologist), and other people have said. Doesn't it take more than a one day turn around test to really know if a horse has West Nile? You can do a quick test for antibodies, but that only shows exposure and can give a positive result in a horse that has been vaccinated. So it is possible that a horse with symptoms that resemble West Nile, who also has antibodies for some reason could be mistakenly diagnosed as having West Nile.Clinical signs may include one or more of the following: weakness (hind-end, front-end, or both, characterized by falling to their knees or difficulty in remaining standing), ataxia (incoordination), muscle twitching or tremors, altered mental state (somnolent or aggressive, circling or stall-walking), hypersensitivity to touch or sound, cataplexy or narcolepsy, seizures, blindness, cranial nerve deficits (facial paralysis, tongue weakness, difficulty swallowing), recumbency, and fever.
It is important not to presume that horses with clinical signs of encephalitis have West Nile
encephalitis. There is a blood test that can be run on a live horse that is showing the symptoms described above, but, to be accurate, it must be done within the first 7-10 days after the horse becomes ill. Alternatively, if the horse dies or is euthanized, at least the head and preferably the entire carcass should be submitted to the nearest VDACS Regional Animal Health Laboratory for a complete post-mortem examination. A definitive diagnosis requires ruling out other important diseases with similar neurological signs. Rabies, botulism, equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM), and Eastern (EEE), Western (WEE), and Venezuelan(VEE) equine encephalitis are examples of other diseases with neurological signs that may be confused with West Nile encephalitis. DOR also knows that in some cases that exposure to pesticides can also cause horse to be symptomatic for West Nile when really they have been poisoned, sometimes by the very spray that was intended to kill the mosquitoes that can transmit West Nile.
So in my musing today, I have come to the conclusion that there needs to be a lot more study on this and better diagnostic techniques developed. That is just the opinion of this spotted horse.
Tomorrow it massage day...I am getting ready for a really good rub down.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Rambling Woods said...

Boy would I love to talk to a virologist. I have always thought that there is some viral trigger involved with multiple sclerosis. Possibly some novel bug as there are many out there that we don't know anything about..but that is not the point of the blog. You are lucky Jack to be around in a time when they are vaccines and tests for so many illnesses..


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