Skip to content

Health Advisory Issued for Tennessee Horse Owners



An advisory by the state veterinarian and other animal health care officials has been issued to horse owners regarding the possible re-emergence of eastern equine encephalitis. The disease is transmitted, much like the West Nile virus, through mosquitoes.

“Horse owners should be aware of symptoms of viral encephalitis and consult their local veterinarian should their horse develop any signs associated with this group of diseases,” said state veterinarian Ron Wilson.

The first case in Tennessee was confirmed some time last week in Anderson County. Cases have also been reported in the nearby states of Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Health officials are also concerned about other mosquito-borne diseases because of the expected increase in the number of West Nile cases during the summer months.

Both equine encephalitis and West Nile virus are transmitted when a mosquito feeds on an infected bird and then passes it on to horses.

Even though eastern equine encephalitis occurs sporadically in Tennessee, the mortality rate in horses is high, according to Wilson. He also believes the spread of West Nile has increased awareness of other nervous system diseases, including eastern equine encephalitis.

It is extremely important for horse owners to know and understand the symptoms for both West Nile and eastern equine encephalitis. Symptoms for both diseases include decreased alertness, blindness or impaired vision, aimless wandering or circling, head pressing, inability to swallow and convulsions.

“Definitive diagnosis is important in tracking the spread of viral infections,” Wilson said. “It requires a commitment on the part of the horse owners working with their local veterinarian and verifying test results through laboratory analysis.”

Vaccines protecting against encephalitis and western equine encephalitis, a variant of the disease, are currently available. An approved West Nile vaccine is also available. Wilson urges horse owners to review their horse’s immunization records.

The State Department of Agriculture’s Kord Animal Laboratory located in Nashville provides diagnostic services for livestock owners and private veterinarians. For more information, please call the state veterinarian’s office at 615-837-5120.

More Stories

  • A Mighty Strong Finish

    Going into the coveted World Grand Championship class Saturday night, Sept. 1, the field was somewhat wide-open for contenders riding for the biggest prize of the show. The preliminaries had given several horses a chance to shine, a few surprises emerged, and the judges were spread out with their opinions throughout the week, as was the crowd, demonstrating stiff competition. Read More
  • Oxford, NC show rescheduled

    North Carolina's PPWHANC Show scheduled for Oxford,N.C. on September 15th has been rescheduled; the new show date is September 29th with the same class schedule as previously presented.  Read More
  • #900 never to return to Celebration competition

    At the 79th anniversary of the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, Bill Callaway and Gen’s Black Maverick rode into the ring on the last Saturday night to a roar of applause and cheering, and they exited the ring in the same fashion as they claimed the title of 2017 Tennessee Walking Horse World Grand Champion... Read More
  • Obituary – Pat Kirk

    Pat Kirk, 89, of Purdy, Missouri entered into eternal rest on Tuesday September 11, 2018 while at Cox South Hospital in Springfield, Missouri.  Read More
  • Obituary - Burt Dale

    The Report has recently learned of the sudden passing of Burl Dale on September 18, 2018. A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, September 22 at 2:00 PM at Camp Yonahnoka in Linville, North Carolina. Read More
  • Allen honored with Evan Lloyd Adamson Humanitarian Award

    The Celebration and the Adamson family are proud to announce the 2018 winner of the Evan Lloyd Adamson award, Connie Allen, director of office operations for The Celebration. Read More
  • Stalls available for hurricane Florence evacuees

    The Celebration will make grounds and stalls available at NO CHARGE for horses evacuating the Carolina’s due to Hurricane Florence. To make arrangements to stall your horses please call 931-684-5915. Read More
  • Nelms becomes first to win all three model titles

    It didn’t take long for Robert Nelms to get noticed at this year’s Celebration. Right out of the gate he was busy leading his winning model entries into the Calsonic for both the morning classes of the show as well as the National Futurity, which serves as the first set of evening classes during Celebration week. Read More
  • Obituary – Noble Stout

    Noble Hooper Stout, Jr., 69, passed away Friday, September 7, 2018 at Cookeville Regional Medical Center. Noble was born in Jackson County on July 12, 1949 to the late Noble Hooper Stout and Mable Carter Stout... Read More
  • Celebration releases information on Tunica

    The Celebration has announced information about the fall edition of the popular Tunica show, to be held Nov. 1-3 at the Paul Battle Sr. Exposition Center, in particular, information about the horse show hotel and exhibitors’ party... Read More