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May 2011

USDA: Deadly EHV-1 virus spreads to 75 horses nationwide; 11 dead

The deadly EHV-1 virus has spread to 75 horses nationwide, and 11 horses are dead because of the disease, according to the latest United States Department of Agriculture report.

The outbreak originated at an Ogden, Utah cutting event earlier this month, and of the 75 live cases, 58 are in horses that attended that event. States affected include Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.

The USDA added 15 new premises to its list of infected locations, and Colorado tops the list of potential infections with 31 suspected or confirmed cases of EHV-1, and six cases known to have gone into the horses' nervous system.

The nation is set up for "what might be called a perfect storm," Dr. Paul S. Morley, a biosecurity/epidemiology professor at Colorado State University, said yesterday in a webinar at TheHorse.com. "Smart horses are staying home." Morley has calculated that more than 1,000 horses were exposed to the virus nationwide.

'Perfect storm' for unprecedented epidemic

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Biosecurity: Key to your horse's protection

Complete USDA animal surveillance EHV-1 report


'Perfect storm': More than 1,000 US horses exposed to deadly EHV-1 virus; Colorado tops list

The horse industry could face the "perfect storm" for an unprecedented nationwide epidemic of the deadly virus EHV-1, according to Dr. Paul S. Morley, a biosecurity-epidemiology professor at Colorado State University.

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"A high-profile event like Ogden ... it has set us up for what might be called a perfect storm," said Morley in a webinar May 25 at TheHorse.com, a blog specializing in horse health care. About 300 horses were first exposed to EHV-1, which can damage the nervous system, at an Ogden, Utah cutting event earlier this month. At least another 700 horses were exposed when the original horses returned home.

Of the horses exposed, Colorado has the highest number of identified and suspected cases: 26 as of May 19, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

At least 65 horse events are cancelled across the country. States have quarantined barns housing horses originally exposed to the virus, and tightened horse-travel restrictions. Many stables are in self-imposed quarantine.

"Smart horses are staying home," said Morley. The cost to the horse industry, which depends on travel and competition to generate business, remains unknown.

EHV-1 is difficult to control because it lurks in horses' systems for many days before causing symptoms. It is not transmissible to humans.

The best defense?

  • Rigorous biosecurity
  • Make your veterinarian your new best friend
  • Follow a regular equine vaccinations program to include the less harmful forms of the virus, which cause respiratory problems and abortions. There are no vaccines licensed to prevent the neurological form of the virus, but experts believe existing vaccines provide some protection, especially with regular boosters.

California, Idaho and Utah follow Colorado on the infections list, according to Morley, who gathered data as of midnight May 24. About 50 percent of the horses with confirmed cases have shown neurologic signs, which can include fever, impaired use of the hind legs, and limp tails. As of May 19, the USDA reported nine horses euthanized with the neurologic form of the disease.

Get the full story: TheHorse.com EHV-1 webinar

Biosecurity: Key to protecting your horse

(This blog is available on the Amazon Kindle.)


30 Colorado horses exposed to deadly EHV-1 virus; 2 dead

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Thirty Colorado horses were exposed to the deadly EHV-1 virus at a cutting event in Ogden, Utah earlier this month, and two Colorado horses have been euthanized, according to the United States Department of Agriculture's May 19 nationwide situation report.

The USDA estimates that 68 Colorado horses were exposed to the virus via secondary contact, with seven confirmed EHV-1 cases in the state, and 19 more suspected.

Biosecurity -- the Key to Keeping Your Horses Healthy (USDA pamphlet)

TheHorse.com: USDA takes over tracking deadly horse virus


Six confirmed cases of EHV-1 in Colorado horses

For a national roundup, visit TheHorse.com

Need to contact your state's vet? Here is a list of official state veterinarians

------ Forwarded Message-------
Date: Wed, 18 May 2011 16:06:10 -050
Subject: STATE VETERINARIAN'S OFFICE - Confirmed EHV-1 Cases in Colorado - Update
Colorado Department of Agriculture
www.colorado.gov/ag FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 18, 2011

EHV-1 Update
Six Confirmed Cases of EHV-1 in Colorado Horses

LAKEWOOD, Colo. – The Colorado Department of Agriculture continues to investigate the spread of Equine Herpesvirus (EHV-1) in the state.

UPDATE: As of 5/18/2011, 1 p.m.

  • 6 confirmed cases of horses with EVH-1 
  • Five of the confirmed EHV-1 positive horses had recently attended the National Cutting Horse Association’s Western National Championships in Ogden, Utah.
  • One of the horses diagnosed with EHV-1 received the infection through contact with horses that attended the Utah event.
  • One horse, which tested positive for EHV-1, was euthanized after showing severe neurological signs associated with the disease. A second horse was euthanized

Continue reading "Six confirmed cases of EHV-1 in Colorado horses" »


Deadly horse virus affects multiple states

TheHorse.com has reported that multiple states are affected by the outbreak of the EHV-1 virus: http://www.thehorse.com/enews/05172011.html#12075

A veterinarian friend of mine encourages everyone to stay up to date on the literature, and follow through with appropriate bio-safety measures. Check out all the links in the article above if you have not had a chance to review proper stable management for this and other infectious diseases.

Previous coverage: http://hoofprints.typepad.com/hoofprints/2011/05/fatal-herpes-outbreak-csu-vet-hospital-in-ftcollins-closes-doors-to-non-emergncy-horse-cases.html


Fatal horse herpes outbreak: 4 Colorado counties involved; other western states

3:50 p.m. -- Horses in four different Colorado counties -- Boulder, Larimer, Mesa, and Weld -- are being investigated for the deadly herpes virus that originated at an Ogden, Utah cutting show, and are under hold or quarantine orders, according to the Colorado state veterinarian. The statement:

"Disease Update as of 11am, 5/16/2011:

  • 2 confirmed cases of equines with EHV-1 in Colorado Currently horses in four different counties of Colorado (Boulder, Larimer, Mesa, and Weld) are being investigated for the disease and are under hold or quarantine orders.
  • One horse, which tested positive for EHV-1, was euthanized after showing severe neurological signs associated with the disease.
  • A second horse was euthanized with similar symptoms but test results have not been confirmed at this point.
  • The others are currently under treatment by veterinarians and in biosecure locations. Both confirmed EHV-1 positive horses had recently attended the National Cutting Horse Association’s Western National Championships in Ogden, Utah.
  • The Colorado Department of Agriculture is working with the other State Veterinarians to investigate the location as a point of interest for the infection.
  • Many exposed horses in many western states are showing clinical signs of EVH-1 and some have been confirmed as EHV-1 positive through laboratory confirmation
  • This disease investigation is ongoing and constantly being updated"

How can I protect my horse? Complete guidelines

3:32 p.m. -- CSU vet hospital closed for non-emergencies; clarifies restrictions

"CSU VTH leadership has made a decision based on best practices to restrict equine

Continue reading "Fatal horse herpes outbreak: 4 Colorado counties involved; other western states" »


Fatal virus outbreak: Cutting horse association puts out Facebook call for help

The National Cutting Horse Association has put out a Facebook call for help, and anyone who attended their show in Ogden, Utah earlier this month needs to let the association know if their horse has come down sick.

Two horses locations in Weld County have been quarantined and another horse has been euthanized due to a neurological form of herpes believed contracted at the Ogden show. Colorado authorities have advised horse owners to skip traveling, and to quarantine horses who have traveled since May 8th.

If you are the owner or trainer of a horse that has exhibited neurological symptoms of EHV-1, had a fever without neurological signs of the virus, or that has died from what you believe to be EHV-1, please contact the NCHA office by calling Pam Robison at 817/244-6188, ext. #111, or by e-mail at  probison@nchacutting.com

From the NCHA: "We would like to know the name of the horse, location of the horse, date the horse first exhibited symptoms of EHV-1, and contact information for the owner and/or caretaker of the horse. At this time, we are only requesting that you contact us IF the horse has exhibited neurological symptoms of EHV-1, or it has died from what you believe to be EHV-1. You do NOT need to contact us if your horse was simply at the NCHA Western National Championships in Ogden, Utah, or has only exhibited a fever since the Western National Championships."


Neuro-herpes outbreak: Weld horses quarantined - another euthanized

FORT COLLINS, Colorado -- Two Weld County horse locations are under quarantine, and one horse has been euthanized due to an outbreak of dangerous and usually fatal equine neurological herpes (rhinopneumonitis).

Authorities are recommending no travel, and quarantine of horses that have traveled since May 8th.

While vaccines exist to prevent the respiratory and abortion-causing forms of this virus, commonly known as "rhino", available vaccines make no label claim to prevent the neurologic form EHV-1 infection, according to the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP).

Mature horses are more commonly affected by the neurologic form of the disease than are juvenile animals.

2 Colorado horses quarantined with virus; both attended Utah horse show

Dangerous neurological herpes outbreak in Colorado horses - what to do

(Karin Livingston is the author of Winning Bet, a clean horse read for 'tweens and teens, available at Jax Ranch & Home, Old Firehouse Books, and Amazon.)