Funds are available now for West Nile virus (WNV) and eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) diagnostic testing for suspect equine. This free service encourages owners to test suspect animals and help detect mosquito-borne diseases earlier, protecting the health of other animals and people in the area. If veterinarians have equine that have developed or recently died from a sudden onset of neurologic signs and the owner approves of pursuing testing, they should contact the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Animal Industry Division at 800-292-3939.
The funding covers the testing cost of samples taken from live or deceased animals (blood, cerebral spinal fluid, or brain samples). The samples will be tested by Michigan State University’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL). Shipping to VDL is not covered. Additionally, if a brain sample is submitted, it will also be tested for rabies virus for free.
Animal Industry Division staff will work with the veterinarian to gather all necessary information and must approve all testing prior to submission. The veterinarian will be notified of the results when they are available.
To date in 2017, Michigan has had three cases of West Nile virus. The three cases were as follows: a 31-year-old Arabian mare from Jackson County, an eight-year-old Arabian gelding from Livingston County and a 15-year-old Standardbred gelding from Missaukee County. All three horses developed severe neurologic signs.