Utah EHV-1: Case Count Rises to Nine

Utah EHV-1: Case Count Rises to Nine

A rectal thermometer is a necessary tool for monitoring your horse's temperature in case of infection.

Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/The Horse

The Utah state veterinarian's office has now confirmed nine equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1) cases, according to a March 11 statement.

"The state veterinarian's office is restricting the movement of the infected animals as a precaution to prevent the spread of the disease," the statement read. "The outbreak remains confined to Cache County, as there have been no other reports of EHV-1 symptoms in horses in other areas of the state. Nonetheless, horse owners throughout Utah are advised to take extra biosecurity precautions when taking their animals to shows or public arenas."

The outbreak began Feb. 26 when two horses tested positive for the disease; two additional horses were confirmed to be EHV-1 positive the following day. On March 4, officials announced that two more horses had tested positive for the disease, and by March 6, the case count had risen to seven.

Four of the affected horses have been euthanized as a result of the disease, the March 11 statement read.

The statement also noted that the Cache County Fairgrounds Horse Arena has closed until further notice because most of the horses had been at the facility recently. "Horse owners who have taken their animals to the Cache County Fairgrounds Arena during the past 30 days should monitor their horse's temperature and report concerns to their local veterinarian," the statement read.

"The state veterinarian recommends that horse facilities proceed with planned equine events and that horse owners planning on traveling to an event should take their horse's temperature daily, beginning three days prior to travel and daily during the event," the statement read. "Horses with temperatures of 103°F and above should not travel or mingle with other horses. Horses should be isolated for two weeks after returning home from an event, during which time they should be monitored for disease symptoms."

Statewide, no other horses have shown signs of EHV-1; however, the state veterinarian's office is advising Utah horse owners to take extra security measures to prevent unnecessary contact with possibly infected horses and to quickly report clinical signs to their veterinarian.

Equine herpesvirus-1 is highly contagious among horses and camelids and is generally spread via aerosol transmission (when infected animals sneeze and cough) and through contact with nasal secretions from infected animals. The disease can cause a variety of problems in horses, includingrhinopneumonitis (a respiratory disease usually found in young horses), abortion in broodmares, and myeloencephalopathy (EHM, the neurologic form).

Fever, ataxia (incoordination), weakness or paralysis of the hind limbs, and incontinence are signs of EHM. If a horse that has possibly been exposed to EHV-1 begins to display any of the aforementioned signs, call your veterinarian immediately.

TheHorse.com will continue to provide updates as more 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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