Farm Progress

Colorado investigates equine herpes case

With the horse-riding season kicking off, knowing the steps to protect animals is important

April 18, 2018

2 Min Read
Victor Vysotsky/iStock/Thinkstock

Word came down Wednesday (4/18/18) that the Colorado State Veterinarian's Office has been notified that a Weld County horse has tested positive for Equine Herpesvirus (EHV-1). As the weather warms up, this time of year is also filled with several horse-related events from riding, jackpots, horse shows and more. There are several things you can do to protect your horses. Here's what the Colorado Department of Agriculture released this week.

CDA is investigating the positive case and has placed the stabled area where the horse is housed under quarantine. The horse is undergoing treatment and others it may have encountered are being monitored but are currently not showing clinical signs. The affected horse is also recovering.

Colorado State Veterinarian Keith Roehr explained that the most common way for EHV-1 to spread is by direct horse-to-horse contact, but can also spread through the air, contaminated equipment, clothing and hands. "This certainly highlights the importance of practicing basic biosecurity practices," he said. "Equine event organizers should continue to practice routine biosecurity practices that are effective in the prevention of EHV and other horse diseases as well."

Symptoms of horses affected with EHV-1 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 are treatable. The disease is not transmissible to people, but can be serious to horses.

For more information, visit A Guide To Understanding the Neurologic Form of EHV Infection or visitwww.colorado.gov/ag/animals and click on "Animal Health."

Practice basic biosecurity

There are a few simple practices that can help prevent spread of disease. Key points include:

* isolating new animals and those returning from equine events to the home premises

* supplying clean feed and water

* implementing infection-control practices for visitors and personnel

* avoiding movement from various locations, if possible.

It is especially important to isolate any sick horse and horse owners are encouraged to contact their veterinarian if illness appears in the herd.

Added Roehr: "Effective biosecurity practices lead to fewer health problems for animals and contribute to a longer and better quality life for the horse. When you're traveling with horses, something as simple as a clean water bucket that you don't share with other people's horses can greatly reduce the risk of disease spread."

USDA also offers information about equine biosecurity measures at the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service website. Check out that document.

Source: Colorado Department of Agriculture

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