Equine Herpes Virus Confirmed in Cache County, UT, Horse Quarantine In Place

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CACHEVALLEYDAILY.COM — FEB. 26, 2013 — The Utah State Veterinarian has issued a quarantine in Cache County following the confirmation of eight cases of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) among horses. 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.

Three of the eight horses have been humanely euthanized because of their condition. The five other animals are under quarantine at their private locations, and are being observed. The Cache County Fairgrounds horse arena has voluntarily quarantined itself after it is believed the eight horses visited the facility in the past several days.

EHV-1 is not transmissible to people.

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.

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 symptoms to their veterinarian.

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, Dr. Bruce King. "Don't let your horses touch other horses, especially nose to nose. Isolate horses that return to the farm from a show or event," added Dr. King.

Equine Herpes Virus symptoms 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. While there is no cure, the symptoms of the disease may be treatable. Horse owners should watch their horses carefully and call their veterinarian if any abnormal signs are observed.