A four-year-old quarter horse stallion in Richmond County was euthanized after contracting the first case of Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis in North Carolina this year.

EEE is a mosquito-borne disease that is preventable in equine by vaccination. The vaccinations initially require two shots, 30 days apart, for horses, mules and donkeys that have no prior vaccination history. 

The disease causes inflammation or swelling of the brain and spinal cord and is usually fatal. Symptoms include impaired vision, aimless wandering, head pressing, circling, inability to swallow, irregular staggering gait, paralysis, convulsions and death.

Once a horse has been bitten by an infected mosquito, it may take three to 10 days for signs of the disease to appear.

If your horse shows any symptoms of EEE, contact your veterinarian immediately.