Equine practitioners in parts of eastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin report a total of seven horses have shown acute neurologic signs.
Diagnostic tests are pending on two Wisconsin horses for equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1), according to officials. A horse in Burnett County was euthanized and another in Polk County is recovering.
In Minnesota, veterinarians are waiting for the return of a test on a Winona County horse.
Minnesota Board of Animal Health officials report four horses have 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.
Two additional cases included horses at the same facility in Chisago County. One of the horses made a full recovery. The other was euthanized.
Dr. Christie Ward from the University of Minnesota recommends horse owners in the area avoid unnecessary travel and mixing of horses for a few weeks. “We have not had any new cases for a week now, so fingers are crossed that the worst is behind us and this will remain a very small outbreak.”
There are no state imposed quarantines, but the affected properties are under voluntary quarantine for the next month.
The affected horses were directly or indirectly connected to the local barrel racing scene, according to Dr. Ward.
EHV-1 is highly contagious and can be deadly to horses. The virus causes respiratory disease, abortion, and intermittent outbreaks of neurologic disease.