The Nebraska Department of Agriculture says three horses at Grand Island’s Fonner Park have tested positive for equine herpes myeloencephalopathy (EHM). One of the horses was euthanized.
EHM is the neurological form of the equine herpes virus (EHV-1). State veterinarian Dr. Dennis Hughes recommends horse owners use biosecurity practices.
“It is of utmost importance that horse owners and facility managers take appropriate precautions to prevent the spread of this disease,” said Dr. Hughes. “Vigilance is especially important in situations where horses can come into contact with each other. There can be a high susceptibility to the disease where we have horses co-mingling from different regions or states.”
About 800 horses located on the track are under quarantine. Racing continues for all horses except for those stabled in the Red Barn, where the affected horses were located. The two confirmed cases are isolated on the premises.
Symptoms that should alert horse owners to the possibility of neurologic EHV-1 infection include fever, weakness, incoordination, and urine dribbling or the inability to urinate. Horses with these symptoms should be examined immediately by a veterinarian.