EHV-1 Confirmed in Utah Horses

EHV-1 Confirmed in Utah Horses

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

(Editor's Note: Article has been adjusted to reflect updated information provided by the Utah state veterinarian's office.)

The Utah state veterinarian has issued several quarantines in Cache County following the confirmation of two cases of equine herpesvirus (EHV-1) along with three other suspected cases. The state veterinarian's office believes the outbreak is confined to Cache County, but horse owners throughout Utah are advised to take extra biosecurity precautions when taking their animals to shows or public arenas.

Two of the five horses have been humanely euthanized because of their condition. The three other animals are under quarantine at their private locations and are being observed. The Cache County Fairgrounds horse arena has closed until further notice as it is believed that most of the horses had been at the facility within the past week.

Horse event coordinators should contact their show veterinarian for recommendations concerning planned events.

"As a precaution to Utah horse owners, I advise they take extra biosecurity steps to safeguard the health of their animals," said State Veterinarian Bruce King, DVM. "Don't let your horses touch other horses, especially nose to nose. Isolate horses that return to the farm from a show or event."

Statewide, no other horses have shown signs of EHV-1. Utah horse owners are advised to take extra security measures to prevent unnecessary contact with possibly infected horses, and to quickly report horses with clinical signs to their veterinarian.

EHV-1 can affect a horse's reproductive, respiratory, and nervous systems and can lead to death. This highly contagious disease can spread rapidly among horses through the air, nose-to-nose contact, contaminated equipment, clothing, and human hands.

Clinical signs of EHV-1 include fever, decreased coordination, nasal discharge, urine dribbling, loss of tail tone, hind-limb weakness, leaning against a wall or fence to maintain balance, lethargy, and the inability to rise (recumbency). While there is no cure, the signs of the disease might be treatable. Horse owners should watch their horses carefully and call their veterinarian if any abnormal signs are observed.


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