Montana horses diagnosed with West Nile virus

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Montana Department of Livestock has confirmed at least nine cases of West Nile virus in Montana horses over the past week, leading to the deaths of five of the animals.

State veterinarian Marty Zaluski said Friday that three of the horses are expected to recover from the mosquito-borne illness while the last was still being treated.

Eight of the infected horses had not been vaccinated and one was not current on its shots. Zaluski encourages horse owners to consider a booster vaccine, which could help provide protection in as soon as a week.

West Nile fever symptoms include loss of appetite and depression, fever, weakness of hind limbs, muscle twitching, convulsions and the inability to swallow.

The cases were reported in Cascade, Blaine, Phillips, McCone, Custer, Petroleum, Musselshell, Big Horn and Stillwater counties.

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