As of March 6, state veterinarian Dr. Mark Ernst has quarantined the Double W boarding stables in Gurnee, IL, after two horses that tested positive for equine Herpes (EHV-1) developed neurological complications and had to be put down. Six or seven other horses at the barn have shown similar symptoms and are under medical treatment, but no other barns are affected at this time. Dr. Ernst quarantined the barn because of the size of the farm. No other quarantine has been put in effect, and requirements for entering or leaving the state remain as normal.
Phil May, manager of the Double W, says that two other horses from the stables had traveled to a clinic at Sunflower Farms in Bristol more than three weeks ago. Luckily, both horses have tested negative for the virus and have normal temperatures. They are being watched closely for the next 10 days.
A statement from the Bristol Veterinary Clinic confirms that EHV-1 in IL has so far been confined to the one quarantined location in Lake County. The source of this infection Is not known and, according to Bristol veterinarian Steve Graham, DVM, may never be known. However, no indications link this outbreak to the recently reported Florida cases.
On Feb. 27, veterinarians confirmed five additional cases of equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1), making a total of six affected horses connected with the Horse Shows in the Sun (HITS) circuit in Ocala, Fla. A statement from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) Division of Animal Industry that same day confirmed the presence of another horse testing positive for EHV-1at Wellington Showgrounds, apparently unrelated to the HITS horses.
In Illinois, Pat Boyle of Showplace Productions has cancelled the Ledges A Horse Show for this weekend. The following week’s show is to occur as planned, but with added biosecurity measure in place. This will include requiring horses that have been in Florida spend at least a 10-day layover outside that state, and that all horses show a health certificate issued within the previous seven days. Any horses arriving from outside Illinois must also have a current negative Coggins test to participate in the show.
The virus is not transmissible to humans but can be highly infectious between horses. Horse owners, and especially those whose horses travel to events, should talk to their veterinarians about getting their horses vaccinated.