Jul 18, 2013 8:53 AM by AP (Photo courtesy MGN Online)
State Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain says a horse in Livingston Parish has been euthanized after reportedly testing positive for both West Nile virus and Eastern equine encephalitis.
It's the first case of either this year. By this time last year, veterinarians had reported seven equine cases of West Nile virus and 10 of Eastern equine encephalitis.
Strain says that although human vaccines don't exist, there are horse vaccines for both diseases - and owners should get horses vaccinated.
Horses and people get the diseases if an infected mosquito bites them. Heavy rains in recent weeks have created mosquito breeding grounds.
Either disease can cause inflammation and swelling of the brain and spinal cord. Infected horses may show lethargy, weakness and paralysis. A high percentage of infected horses will die.