The Colorado Department of Agriculture is investigating a confirmed case of equine herpesvirus. A total of seven horses are quarantined. Another six horses are being watched closely and have hold orders on them.
The affected horse, a six year old gelding from Texas, is part of a team of quarter horses used during the National Western Stock Show rodeo to pull a stagecoach during rodeo performances. The horse began showing clinical signs Sunday and was transported to the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital for treatment. It was diagnosed with EHV-1 yesterday and remains in stable condition.
The other horses from the pulling team are quarantined at the NWSS coliseum and hold orders have been placed on other contact horses.
“The Department is taking quick and appropriate actions to investigate, control and mitigate this disease,” said State Veterinarian, Dr. Keith Roehr. “We will continue to trace the potential contacts of this horse in order to protect Colorado’s equine industry.”
The infected horse was stabled in the coliseum at the National Western from January 7-28. Officials say the gelding nor its team had contact with any horses stabled or shown in the Events Center or the Hall of Education. Horse owners who had horses at the coliseum should monitor their animals for clinical signs and contact their veterinarian if their horse becomes sick.
Experts say symptoms can 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.
EHV-1 is not transmissible to people, however it can be serious to horses. It can cause respiratory problems, neurologic disease and death. 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.
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