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First EHV-1 case in Montana

June 12, 2011


Montana has recorded its first positive test for Equine Herpesvirus 1 (EHV-1), in a horse officials describe as clinically healthy.

Death toll

As at 25.6.2011

New Mexico
About EHV

The case is in Gallatin County, in a horse that attended the National Cutting Horse Association Western National Championships in Ogden, Utah, from April 30 to May 8.

State veterinarian Dr Marty Zaluski said: "Fortunately, this horse not only remains healthy, but has been separated from other horses since returning from Ogden."

The horse, a 13-year-old gelding, is the latest of 88 confirmed cases of EHV-1 or Equine Herpes Virus Myeloencephalopathy (EHM), where horses show neurological signs.

Cases have been reported in 10 western states - Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah and Washington) since the event.

The death toll stands at 12.

The horse has been stabled in a stall and isolated from other horses on the premises since attending the Utah event, and has been routinely tested by his owners.

EHV-1 can cause a wide range of symptoms, from a complete lack of clinical signs to fever, nasal discharge or more serious neurological symptoms, at which point it is characterised as Equine Herpesvirus Myeloencephalopathy (EHM).

Poor co-ordination, hind-end weakness, lethargy, incontinence and diminished tail tone are frequent signs of EHM.

Acute paralytic syndrome is another possible consequence, which results in high mortality.

The virus is easily spread by airborne transmission, horse-to-horse contact and by contact with nasal secretions on equipment, tack, feed and other surfaces. People can spread the virus to horses by means of contaminated hands, clothing, shoes and vehicles.

Zaluski said event co-ordinators and participants needed to be aware of the disease and take extra precautions.

"Any public event always carries some degree of risk, and horse owners and event coordinators should be aware of common signs of disease," Zaluksi said.

Equine owners who are concerned about the safety of their animals should consider monitoring the temperature of their animals twice daily for 7-14 days.

Horses with a rectal temperature greater than 101.5 should be considered to have a fever and a veterinarian should be consulted.

Event organisers should consider requiring temperature records for participation in events.



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