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Two Minnesota horses euthanized after they were confirmed to have different diseases

Both horses suffered “deteriorating” conditions in recent weeks.

Two horses in Minnesota were euthanized after they were found to be suffering from different equine diseases.

According to the Minnesota Board of Animal Health, a horse in Itasca County was confirmed to have Eastern Equine Encephalitis, which is spread by mosquitoes. A horse in Washington County meanwhile was confirmed to have Equine Herpesvirus, which is spread between horses.

Both horses were euthanized after their conditions deteriorated in recent weeks.

“How the diseases are spread, how they’re prevented and how we respond to them are different. Because of the varied threat to the health of your horse we strongly encourage routine checkups with your veterinarian,” Dr. Brian Hoefs, senior veterinarian of the Board’s Equine Program, said in a statement.

The Itasca horse was the first documented case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis this year. It began suffering muscle loss before tests confirmed the diagnosis. It was euthanized on Aug. 16.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis can be fatal in both humans and horses. In its announcement, the Board of Animal Health emphasized the importance of the EEE vaccine for horses.

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The Washington County horse began showing loss of muscle control on Aug. 26. The symptoms progressed overnight, and the horse was euthanized the next day. Another horse on the farm showed similar symptoms and was euthanized the following week without being tested.

The 31 remaining horses on the farm are currently quarantined.

Both horses had attended three different shows in the area in August. The Board of Animal Health has reached out to those locations to alert attendees. 

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