Champion Sire Jet Master will definitely not be covering mares this season. He contracted West Nile Virus around what is thought to be the end of May this year and it has affected his balance and he is lame.
His disappointed owner Henry Devine said this morning that the brilliant stallion was eating well and his coat was good, but that he was suffering instability. He confirmed that practically every available Veterinarian had examined the horse, but there was no confirmation at this stage whether he would recover fully.
The West Nile Virus is a mosquito borne virus that causes encephalitis or meningitis.Most horses bitten by carrier mosquitoes do not develop disease. Of those that do, approximately one-third develop severe disease and die or are so affected that euthanasia is required. The incubation period – or the time between the bite of an infected mosquito and when clinical signs appear ranges from three to 14 days. Although most horses do not usually develop clinical signs of WNV infection, horses that do become ill vary in symptoms from mild signs to serious and near death. Typical signs include muscle trembling; skin twitching; ataxia (incoordination, stumbling, limb weakness) that either appears suddenly or appears gradually and worsens; sleepiness; dullness; listlessness; facial paralysis (droopy eyelids, lower lip); difficulty with urination and defecation; and an inability to rise. Some horses may develop mild fevers, blindness, seizures, and other signs. Horses can not spread the disease to humans, but humans are susceptible to the disease if bitten by a carrier mosquito.
Devine confirmed that all Jet Master service holders are being notified and refunded.