Equine disease linked to 11 deaths
A recent outbreak of equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1) has horse owners on edge. A number of cases were reported following the National Cutting Horse Association event April 29 through May 8 in Ogden, Utah. However, the Texas Animal Health Commission confirmed one case of the neurological form of EHV-1 on May 27, and the horse has no connection with the Utah event.
Since May 16, the commission has been updating the number of horses involved in the disease outbreak.
According to the Texas Animal Health Commission, “equine herpes virus is a common virus in equine populations worldwide. There are several strains of the virus, with EHV-1 and EHV-4 being most often involved in clinical disease. EHV-1 can cause respiratory disease, abortion, and neurologic disease. Although EHV-1 is highly contagious among horses, it does not pose a threat to human health.”
The disease is transmitted when infectious droplets are inhaled and through direct and indirect contact.
Horses exposed to EHV-1 may develop neurological signs indicative of Equine Herpesvirus Myeloencephalopathy.
The first cases identified in Colorado involved horses that had attended the national show in Utah. After the horse association was notified, they notified state animal health officials, who notified the owners of potentially exposed horses, so isolation and monitoring could be conducted.
In a May 31 EHV-1 Update, the Texas Animal Health Commission reported the following horses were under movement restriction -- 11 of the 26 Texas horses that attended the national event and 171 of their 323 stablemates. Seven premises in Texas, located in Randall, Parker, Jack, and Mills counties, are being monitored.
Prior to the May 27 incident, a horse from New Mexico being treated in a Texas clinic tested positive for the disease. The horse has since been returned to its original premises.
While Texas only has one confirmed case thus far, nine other states have been monitoring the 75 confirmed EHV-1 or Equine Herpesvirus Myeloencephalopathy (EHM) cases, according to a May 26 U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (Ag Department) situation report.
Eleven horses, according to the Ag Department report, are dead or have been euthanized and have been linked to the Utah event.
According to the Texas Animal Health Commission, horse owners should:
•Be vigilant of the possibility that exposed horses may still be incubating the disease.
•Contact event organizers in advance to ensure the events have not been canceled.
•Isolate all newly purchased horses or introduced horses prior to adding to one’s herd.
For more information, visit www.tahc.state.tx.us .