Despite being previously vaccinated, my 8 yr old WB gelding contracted West Nile Virus.
I am having the hardest time finding any first-hand information/experiences from others whose horses contracted/survived WNV and what their experience was like in rehabilitating their horses.
He had a week off after a busy month of dressage shows/clinics and was on more pasture time than usual -
over the weekend, he began to show less interest in his hay/grain, which I attributed to how rich our grass is.
Tuesday we had our first lesson back to work, and I figured the exercise would create an appetite. That night when he hadn’t touched his grain, I took his temp and it was 104.5.
Wednesday AM our vet came, and suspecting a GI infection began a regimen of gentamicin, penicillin, banamine. My gelding was given IV fluids and tubed with mineral oil as he was exhibiting some signs of colic. Blood draws were mostly normal, other than one elevated level indicating “low grade infection”
Wednesday PM, his fever persisted and our vet returned to observe. Decided to continue the care regimen and see if his fever would come down.
Thursday AM, his fever persisted despite the meds and even after cold hosing.
Thursday PM, he temped at 106 per our vet’s recommendation was taken to our local equine hospital.
On Thursday and Friday, he exhibited muscle fasciculations, on Friday he became incredibly lethargic, was grinding his teeth, showing signs of incoordination particularly during urination.
Friday overnight the hospital administered DMSO IV. His fever broke, and since then he has been regaining his personality and acting more himself.
Today (Tuesday) - a week from becoming aware of his fever, we received test results confirming West Nile.
While I’m so incredibly grateful - now knowing how bad it could have been - that my gelding survived the worst parts of the acute illness, I’m aware that he is susceptible to secondary illness. Also, I understand that there is the possibility of lingering neurological complications. This is my heart horse, and while I have already come to terms with the idea of us scrapping the 2021 show season, I am heartsick at the thought that he may not return to training if he does have lingering issues.
Any insight into experience rehabbing a horse post West Nile would be incredibly helpful. I appreciate it. <3