Equine Herpesvirus Confirmed in Colorado Horse

Equine Herpesvirus Confirmed in Colorado Horse

Photo: Stephen Reed, DVM, DACVIM

A horse in Douglas County, Colo., has tested positive for equine herpesvirus-1, according to a statement from the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA), and the facility at which the horse resided has been placed under quarantine.

The horse was recently transported from Iowa by a private owner and was euthanized after showing "severe neurologic signs associated with the disease," according to the CDA release. The positive test result came on May 11, said Kate Anderson, DVM, program administrator of the CDA Bureau of Animal Protection.

Anderson told TheHorse.com that all other horses that had been in contact with the affected animal are quarantined and are being monitored closely for signs of disease or an elevated temperature. Anderson said that none of the other horses have shown signs of disease at this point.

"The Department is taking quick and appropriate actions to control and mitigate this disease," added State Veterinarian Keith Roehr, DVM. "We will continue to trace the movement of this horse and those horses it came into contact with in order to protect Colorado's equine industry."

Although it's not transmissible to humans, EHV-1 is highly contagious among horses and camelids, and it is generally passed from horse to horse via aerosol transmission (when affected animals sneeze/cough) and contact with nasal secretions. The disease can cause a variety of ailments in equines, 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 the hind limbs, and incontinence. Should a horse with potential EHV-1 exposure display any of the aforementioned clinical signs, a veterinarian should be called to obtain samples and test for the disease.

TheHorse.com will continue to provide updates as new information becomes available.

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 eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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