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Equine Western, Eastern and Venezuelan Equine Encephalomyelitis

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Names:

EE, EEE, WEE, VEE, Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis, Western Equine Encephalomyelitis, Venezuelan Equine Encephalomyelitis

Causes:

These diseases are caused by viruses. There are three strains, Eastern, Western and Venezuelan. The virus is spread by mosquitoes and is transferable to humans. Each strain is unique to an area so that EEE is seen in Eastern North America, WEE in Western areas and Venezuelan is widespread in South America.

Symptoms:

Symptoms include increased temperature, listlessness and loss of appetite. Initially the disease may be so mild that it isn’t noticed. As the disease progresses, the horse may show signs of irritation and nervousness, extreme listlessness, and eventually paralysis and death. Humans, donkeys, mules and horses are susceptible.

Treatment:

Veterinary care in the early stages is crucial. Although there is no specific treatment available, treatment of the symptoms with drug and vitamin therapies may help a horse survive the effects of the virus.

Prevention:

Vaccination is the best preventative for EEE, WEE, and VEE. Individuals with the disease should be quarantined and steps to reducing biting insects taken. If you live in an area where EE is prevalent call your veterinarian for the recommended vaccination schedule.
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