The University of Minnesota College of Animal Health and Food Safety recommends that horses with a fever and symptoms of contagious respiratory infection should be kept at home and not taken to shows, clinics or public trail rides. Horse owners should also be aware that transportation of horses to competitions, shows and clinics may increase the risk of exposure to infectious organisms. Owners of affected horses should wash and disinfect their hands and change their clothes before coming into contact with healthy horses to prevent the potential spread of these infectious organisms.
Several barrel horse events have been cancelled due to EHV-1 concerns.
The number of confirmed cases of horses with the non-neuropathogenic strain of the equine herpesvirus (EHV-1) continues to rise as Minnesota officials await additional test results.
Minnesota Board of Animal Health officials report four of the affected horses tested positive for EHV-1. The state says the most recent cases included a horse in Dakota County that was euthanized and one in Hennepin County. The latter equine is recovering. Diagnostic tests are pending on two additional horses.
Two additional cases included horses at the same facility in Chisago County. One of the horses made a full recovery. The other was euthanized.
Equine veterinarians in the eastern part of the state and western Wisconsin are reporting horses with acute neurologic symptoms.
EHV-1 is a highly contagious virus that causes respiratory disease, abortion, and intermittent outbreaks of neurologic disease in horses. Symptoms that should alert horse owners to the possibility of EHV-1 include fever, weakness, incoordination, and urine dribbling or inability to urinate. Horses with these symptoms should be examined immediately by a veterinarian. Suspect horses should be isolated from healthy horses.
The neuropathogenic strain of EHV-1 is a reportable disease in Minnesota. Test results that are confirmed to be the neuropathogenic strain of EHV-1 must be forwarded to the Minnesota Board of Animal Health.