High Risk to Colorado Horse Owners, Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1)
May 18, 2011
GARFIELD COUNTY, Colo. — Throughout the past couple days, several cases of the equine herpes virus (EHV-1) have been recorded in the Western part of the country. There have been three confirmed cases in Mesa County, Colorado.
This irreversible virus has had many local horse owners concerned. EHV-1 can be transmitted through direct contact, clothing, shoes, equipment, and even airborne and has been noted to have an incubation period of roughly 4 to 6 days.
Symptoms may include: a fever of 102 degrees or higher, coughing, nasal discharge, weakness in hind limbs, gait abnormalities, difficulty defecating or urinating, and trouble rising or standing.
Some ways to prevent this virus from spreading would be: after handling one horse, wash your hands before moving to the next, change clothes when going to another farm, disinfect your shoes when leaving the premises, do not share water buckets or equipment, keep your horses from coming in contact with unfamiliar horses, do not rotate horses from stall to stall, and because this virus can be airborne try to keep hauling horses to a minimum.
If you are concerned that your horse may be showing symptoms, please call your local veterinarian immediately.
Please direct any questions to the Colorado Department of Agriculture by calling (303) 239-4100. For more information please contact the American Association of Equine Practitioners.
UPDATE May 23, 2011: Garfield County Fairgrounds quarantine of facilities to protect against virus contamination