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Equine Herpes Virus, EHV-1 virus outbreak: Highly contagious virus among horses

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The Midwest is alarmed over a new virus/disease outbreak called the Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) that is currently focusing on barrel horses. Two horses already have been euthanized that were tested positive for this disease.

According to updated news reports on March 21 from Horsetalk and the Star Tribune on March 20 that other horses in Wisconsin and Minnesota and are showing signs EHV-1 in the form of neurologic symptoms and are being tested. The results of those tests are currently pending.

This is an air-borne virus contagious to only horses. It is transmitted through the breathing of the horses. EHV-1 can’t affect humans or any other animals but does affect the central nervous system of the horse population.

It is a shame that these beautifully handsome animals had to be put down. The veterinary clinics in the areas are deeply concerned with this new outbreak and are urging all equine owners to be aware and look out for signs of neurological symptoms, horses that are unable to get up again after falling, paralysis and high fevers. Owners are also advised not to move the animals and certainly not transport them to any horse events and shows where they can come in contact with other horses.

EHV-1 is highly contagious and cross-contamination is very likely. Affected horses should be quarantined to prevent the spread of this virus. Currently the horses that seem to be targeted by this virus/disease are barrel horses. Many of the barrel racing events are being cancelled till the end of the month in hope that less contact will help stop the spread of this disease among other horses as a health precaution.

Equine owners are encouraged to have their horses checked out by their veterinarian as a precautionary measure. Eastern Minnesota and Western Wisconsin are areas that the EHV-1 disease are more concentrated and horse travel is not recommended and if your horses are healthy to postpone any racing events at this time.

© 2014 Beverly Mucha / All Rights Reserved

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