Additional EHV-1 Cases Confirmed in Minnesota, Wisconsin

Additional EHV-1 Cases Confirmed in Minnesota, Wisconsin

Myeloencephalopathy is characterized by fever, ataxia (incoordination), weakness or paralysis of limbs, and incontinence.

Photo: Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief

The University of Minnesota Equine Center has announced via Facebook that additional equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1) cases have been confirmed in eastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

"Since March 7 there have been a total of at least eight horses with acute neurological disease in the eastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin area," the March 27 post read. "Of these, six horses have tested positive for the EHV-1 virus. Three horses have been humanely euthanized, while the other horses are being treated on the farm."

Thus far, EHV-1 has been confirmed in:

  • Two horses on a single Chisago County, Minn., farm, one of which was euthanized and one of which recovered, according to a March 26 statement from the Minnesota Board of Animal Health (MBAH);
  • One horse in Dakota County, Minn.; this horse was euthanized, according to the MBAH;
  • One horse in Hennepin County, Minn.; the MBAH indicated this horse is recovering;
  • One horse in Polk County, Wisc.; the MBAH indicated this horse is recovering; and
  • Most recently on March 26, one horse in Wright County, Minn.

Tests are pending on additional horses, the equine center said.

Health Alert: Equine Herpesvirus

EHV-1 is highly contagious among horses and can cause a variety of ailments, including rhinopneumonitis (a respiratory disease usually found in young horses), abortion in broodmares, and myeloencephalopathy (EHM, the neurologic form). Myeloencephalopathy is characterized by fever, ataxia (incoordination), weakness or paralysis of limbs, and incontinence.

The MBAH recommended in a March 20 release that owners keep horses with fevers and clinical signs of contagious respiratory infection at home and not take them to shows, clinics, or public trail rides. "Horse owners should also be aware that transportation of horses to competitions, shows, and clinics may increase the risk of exposure to infectious organisms," the board said in the release. "Owners of affected horses should wash and disinfect their hands and change their clothes before coming into contact with healthy horses to prevent the potential spread of these infectious organisms."

TheHorse.com will provide updates on the situation as it develops.

About the Author

Erica Larson, News Editor

Erica Larson, News Editor, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in three-day eventing with her OTTB, Dorado, and enjoys photography in her spare time.

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