Horses dying due to EEE Virus

GWINN, Mich. (WLUC) - Local horse owner Jesie Melchori is still recovering after her horse, Rocky, suddenly died this past week from the EEE Virus.

"I lost my best friend of 15 years, will I replace him, yes, because of my love of horses but right now it’s still a little raw," said Melchori.

Earlier this week she got the confirmation, Rocky suffered from the EEE Virus. It is carried through mosquitoes and can transmit to horses and sometimes, but rarely, to humans.

"It made him very wobbly, very like he didn’t know where he was all around just sad," said Melchori.

"When horses contract the virus they have very neurological signs that can range from dull movement all the way to blindness, seizures, and sudden death," said Dr. Rebecca Vollrath, a veterinarian.

There have been two confirmed recent cases of the virus in Marquette County and one pending in Dickinson. However eight horses throughout the UP have had similar symptoms that led to death.

"There have been other horses suspicious of this disease because they were found dead suddenly or neurological signs before they died, but no veterinarian examined them so I can’t use them as a number at this point," stated Dr. Vollrath.

There are many possible reason horses are contracting the virus, but preventing the disease is simple according to Dr. Vollrath.

"We are lucky to have an effective vaccinations in the horse world," said Dr. Vollrath. "The best thing we can do for our horses is to vaccinate them."

In both the confirmed cases the horses were not vaccinated.

As Melchori still morns the death of her horse, she took to social media to spread awareness of the importance of vaccinations.

Her Facebook page, You are my Rock, is inviting hundreds of horse owners to share support and knowledge.

"It's to be able to share with people and be able to give someone an outlet for asking questions," said Melchori.

For a link to the facebook page, click here.

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