A Utah farm is under quarantine following confirmation of Equine Herpes Virus-1 (EHV-1) in a horse. Two other horses on the property in Cache County were euthanized after showing neurological signs consistent with the disease.
The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food is investigating.
This contagious disease in horses spreads rapidly and can result in death. It can cause respiratory and neurological problems.
The most common way for EHV-1 to spread is by direct horse-to-horse contact. The virus can also spread through the air, contaminated equipment, clothing and hands.
With the exception of the original victim and direct contact horses, no other horses, to date, have become ill with similar signs.
“Because of the highly contagious nature of this disease other cases may surface in the coming days,” state veterinarian Bruce King warned. “Horse owners are advised to quickly report symptoms to their veterinarian.”
Event coordinators for upcoming horse events should contact their show veterinarian for recommendations, he said.
“As a precaution to Utah horse owners, I advise they take extra biosecurity steps to safeguard the health of their animals.
“Don’t let your horses touch other horses, especially nose to nose. Isolate horses that return to the farm from a show or event.”
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.