Nevada Officials: Horses Exposed to Infectious Diseases

Nevada Officials: Horses Exposed to Infectious Diseases

Clinical signs of strangles include lethargy, thick nasal discharge made up of mucus and pus, swollen lymph nodes, and abscesses under the jaw and at the throatlatch.

Photo: The Horse Staff

On Saturday, Feb. 18, the Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA) began receiving accounts of horses being exposed to equine herpesvirus-4 (EHV-4) and Streptococcus equi bacterial infection (also known as strangles).

Both diseases are highly contagious among horses, and strangles is listed on the National List of Reportable Animal Diseases.

As such, the NDA’s state veterinarian, JJ Goicoechea, DVM, has recommended postponing this weekend’s high school rodeo in Moapa Valley because some horses present at last weekend's rodeo in Boulder City are now showing signs of disease.

“Horses that were exposed last weekend may not exhibit clinical signs for several weeks, and we run the risk of exposing additional horses at the rodeo this weekend,” Goicoechea said. “We may be issuing quarantine orders once confirmed. Our primary focus is stopping the spread and protecting our equine population.”

Both EHV-4 and strangles are upper respiratory diseases. While there were accounts of diseased horses from earlier this winter, the NDA did not receive any reports. The NDA is working with local veterinarians, Nevada equestrian event associations, and industry associations to attempt to minimize exposure and slow the spread of disease.

Health Alert: Equine Herpesvirus

Clinical signs of strangles include lethargy, thick nasal discharge made up of mucus and pus, swollen lymph nodes, and abscesses under the jaw and at the throatlatch. Clinical signs of EHV-4 include fever; nasal discharge that starts out as thin and clear, then progressively gets thicker and milky in color; and sometimes cough.

“All horse owners should consult with their veterinarian to ensure vaccinations are current,” Goicoechea added. “If you suspect your horse may be exhibiting signs of illness, contact your veterinarian and do not allow contact with other horses.”

Per Nevada Revised Statute Chapter 571.160, any animal owner or practicing veterinarian who has knowledge of an infected animal, shall immediately notify the state quarantine officer (NDA Director Jim Barbee). A list of reportable diseases can be found at agri.nv.gov.

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