Horse owners in the west, where many horse shows, rodeos, and other equine activities have been cancelled or postponed because of an outbreak of the potentially deadly equine herpes virus, are breathing easier. According to the Colorado Department of Agriculture, no new cases of the disease have been confirmed there since May 20.
In Washington, Dr. Leonard Eldridge, the state veterinarian believes that sufficient time has elapsed for signs of the disease to appear in horses that attended the Cutting Horse event in Ogden, Utah, from where the disease spread. Any positive or exposed animals showing no symptoms after twenty-one days may be released from quarantine with written laboratory confirmation that the horse is no longer contagious.
Dr. Eldridge has recommended further that any horse that has not tested positive, exhibited symptoms, or been exposed to a confirmed positive horse be cleared for travel.
The virus is most commonly spread via direct horse-to-horse contact, but horse tack, equipment, and people’s clothing may also be a contributor. Symptoms in horses include fever, sneezing, nasal discharge, decrease in coordination, and hind end weakness. Horse owners in the affected states—California, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Washington—are still urged to be vigilant.
Posted June 4, 2011