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EHV1 outbreak information

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  • And this is from my vets website in the Okanagan Valley, BC

    Neurotropic Equine Herpes Virus Update

    Currently there are numerous reports of equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy (EHM) affecting a few horses in western North America. This outbreak appears related to initial cases at a cutting horse show in Ogden, Utah, which was held from April 29-May 8. Horses at that event may have been exposed to this virus and subsequently spread the infection to other horses. While the true extent of this disease outbreak is uncertain, there is clearly a very significant elevated risk of EHM cases at this time in horses that have been exposed to other horses involved in this outbreak. At this time control of the outbreak is critically dependent on biosecurity.

    Equine Herpes Virus-1 is a contagious disease of horses that has been around for a long time. The classical form of the disease causes respiratory disease, abortions in mares and rarely neurological (brain and spinal cord) disease. In the past few years a new strain of the virus has emerged that causes more severe disease. It is called neuropathogenic or neurotropic EHV-1. It poses no human health risk.

    Affected horses may develop fevers, runny noses, wobbly gait, hind end weakness and may become recumbent.

    The vast majority of horses become infected with herpes virus as foals and either get a very mild illness or may show no visible signs at all. This would be similar to children getting exposed to human respiratory viruses as babies from contact with other humans. This is a normal part of life. We believe that most foals are exposed at a very young age and may carry the virus for life with absolutely no consequences, however, rarely, the virus may become active in a particular horse and may mutate to form the strain of herpes virus that becomes responsible for the neurological disease now being seen in the Ogden outbreak.

    Should you be worried about your horses? This disease is spread by horse to horse contact but can also be spread by the virus being carried on peoples hands, tack, buckets, etc. It does NOT affect humans. In our area, the only way your horse could be at risk is if they come in contact with other horses that were somehow associated with the Ogden show and outbreak. Humans who attended that show would be very unlikely to be transporting the virus on their clothes or hands as changing clothes and washing would get rid of it. Trailers and tack used with sick horses shedding the virus could remain contaminated for up to 21 days.

    So how should you best avoid exposing your horse to this disease? Obviously you would avoid contact with horses associated with the Ogden show. Certainly anyone who had horses at the Ogden show would know what is going on and should be keeping their horses at home until this outbreak passes.

    Many manufacturers produce herpes virus vaccines (commonly called Rhino vaccine) however, none have been proven to be useful in preventing the neurological form of this disease.

    This in not the first such outbreak, nor will it be the last. Similar outbreaks of this disease occur all over the world. They start up with out warning, create havoc during the outbreak and then fade away. This one will also pass, but during it's active time, DILIGENT BIO SECURITY IS THE ONLY KNOWN WAY TO CONTROL IT'S SPREAD. Put simply, this means avoiding contact with horses that may have been in Ogden or horses secondarily exposed to Ogden horses.

    As always in these sort of situations, rumors run rampant. Do make yourself informed and do keep abreast of what is going on in this outbreak, but there is no reason for panic. Over the coming days here will be lots of information online about the Ogden outbreak, but scrutinize your sources carefully. Not all you see online will be true.

    We will keep this page updated, so check our web site for updates.

    May 18, 2011

    To date, only horses from the Ogden Utah cutting show have come down with this disease. In the Okanagan, there is one barn with three cases all of which were in Ogden. These cases have not been confirmed in the laboratory, but considering their attendance at the Ogden show and the clinical signs presented, there is a good level of confidence that these horses have neurological herpes infection. This barn is completely quarantined and there have been no new cases within that barn.

    We contacted the BC. provincial veterinary laboratory this morning and they have NO confirmed cases. Alberta has reported one case confirmed in one of their laboratories.

    We participate in two online discussion groups for equine veterinarians which include thousands of veterinarians and yesterday the question was asked if any cases had been seen in horses except for those who had been to Ogden. As of today no one has reported any cases other than horses that had been to the Ogden show.

    May 19, 2011
    There are no new reports to indicate that this disease is spreading in any sort of epidemic fashion. The cases being dealt with are still only those that were somehow directly or secondarily exposed in Ogden, Utah.


    • Originally posted by Bigbutt View Post

      May 18, 2011

      To date, only horses from the Ogden Utah cutting show have come down with this disease.

      May 19, 2011
      There are no new reports to indicate that this disease is spreading in any sort of epidemic fashion. The cases being dealt with are still only those that were somehow directly or secondarily exposed in Ogden, Utah.
      Unfortunately this is a case of inaccurate information being posted, and therefore spread. As of May 18 the Utah Ag Dept announced that only two of the five cases at the one facility in Utah County had been at the show, so the May 18 info above is misleading. The May 19th info may be true insofar as no 'new' cases were reported on that date related to Ogden- but two new cases were confirmed yesterday in Utah as posted above, and there's the one unrelated case in Florida so it is not safe to assume that the Ogden cutting is the only vector.


      • This vet continues to post good information as well:

        Proud owner of a Slaughter-Bound TB from a feedlot, and her surprise baby...!


        • On the local news radio today (SF bay area), they reported on this--they saud 30something cases in nine states. I've NEVER heard horse related stuff on the radio like this. As I was driving over the Dublin grade into Pleasanton, there were TONS of people and horses at the Rowell Ranch Rodeo!!! Interestingly enough, I was also following a whole bunch of really expensive, official vehicles with military people in it with names on them like "communications" and "command vehicle" heading that way. I'm wondering if it's something associated with the CA dept. of agriculture and were going to quarantine the fools. Anybody hear anything?


          • Originally posted by jenm View Post
            This vet continues to post good information as well:

            I just read through his site, good information and good style. Thanks for posting.

            My guy just got boosted with Calvenza on Thursday, which was part of his regular vaccination routine anyway. We are at a hobby barn with minimal traffic so the risk to him is extremely low, but I've got a plan in place should he becomes symptomatic of EHM (he is 24 so the plan is relatively easy: euthanize).

            I am in Nebraska, no confirmed cases here, but five horse premises are under quarantine by the state vet due to having horses that may have come in contact with horses at the cutting event in Utah.

            To me this is a tough mental balance of keeping calm when statistics are greatly in your favor but knowing that if your horse is one of the fractions of a percent affected it is a nightmare.


            • Originally posted by TrakHack View Post
              To me this is a tough mental balance of keeping calm when statistics are greatly in your favor but knowing that if your horse is one of the fractions of a percent affected it is a nightmare.

              The odds for me are overwhelmingly against having one of my horses contract EHV-1. We have a closed herd and can easily curtail activities. But I have lived through two bad strangles outbreaks, one of which included a case of purpura which my vets pooh-poohed as being highly unlikely. Well, it happened. And my filly lived but is significantly scarred, including a permanent grin from having her mouth literally slough off.

              I went to a feed store today; I'm having the farrier out this week (I did make sure it was her only appointment of the day; she is already bleaching tools and changing clothes between appointments). I am exercising caution and precaution. And I'm going to keep believing in the odds and not the unthinkable.
              Shall I tell you what I find beautiful about you? You are at your very best when things are worst.


              • Haven't read through all pages of posts but wanted to post this ... apologies in advance if its a repeat.

                --Gwen <><
                "Treat others as you want to be treated and be the change you want to see in the world."


                • How is your horse? Did he get tested?

                  Originally posted by Perfect Pony View Post
                  Well unfortunately my horse is in Sonoma County and currently has a pretty severe upper respiratory infection. Everyone will have to excuse me if I go freak out.
                  Feeling better? Was there a temperature? I understand your concern ... how do you figure out whether it is just a little allergy drainage vs a cold, vs. EHV-1 just the respiratory form or EHV-1 "I should panic now" neurological form.

                  Sorry you're going through this.


                  • California: Another horse tests positive in NorCal

                    This horse is in Marin County and was at the event in Utah:

                    Last edited by jenm; May. 24, 2011, 01:55 AM.
                    Proud owner of a Slaughter-Bound TB from a feedlot, and her surprise baby...!


                    • I just got an email from my barn. They're closing the barn to any outside horses. If a horse leaves, it can't come back in until the restriction is lifted. Probably overkill, but I don't mind. I'm in Kansas.
                      Last edited by mp; May. 24, 2011, 09:37 AM. Reason: fixed ... finally
                      "... if you think i'm MAD, today, of all days,
                      the best day in ten years,
                      you are SORELY MISTAKEN, MY LITTLE ANCHOVY."


                      • Washington state travel restrictions:



                        • How will WA enforce that?? I've been at ONE show in 21 years where the Dept. of Ag. checked for health certificates for WA or OR horses. Will they be stopping trailers on the bridges?

                          Lots of shows are canceling now, but I think it is more due to barns calling and saying they are staying home.

                          Still only the 3 horses sick in OR, all from contact with Ogden horses. I am hoping that is where this stays!
                          Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


                          • According to the latest news from the California Dept of Agriculture, there are now 18 confirmed cases in CA. 16 of them were at Ogden, 2 were NOT, so the virus has spread outside of the Utah event. The news relese from Marin is a couple of days old and unfortunately no longer true

                            "Sixteen(16) of the confirmed positive EHM CA cases participated in the National Cutting Horse Association’s Western National Championships in Ogden, Utah.
                            Two (2) of the confirmed positive EHM CA cases participated only in the Kern County Cutting Horse Event on May 13th in Bakersfield, CA."

                            Such a bummer. Poor horses.


                            • Originally posted by kewpalace View Post
                              I'd say not. The CA Dept of Food/Ag listed the cases by county. Temecula is not in LA County so I doubt they would classify the confirmed case as being in LA County if the horse was in Temecula.

                              Thanks Kewpalace. I just don't see Riverside County on the list, so I was wondering about the accuracy of the Temecula statement. I'm in Los Angeles county, my trainer just decided today that we won't be going to the Memorial Day Classic horseshow this weekend I'm totally having a pity party, but I know not going is the right move. I'm sure she didn't come upon it lightly given the loss of revenue not only for her, but also for the grooms. Plus she doesn't get to show either. I'm also not looking forward to writing the check for my stall and scratch fee since the show's organizers seem to be forging ahead regardless of the situation.


                              • Reported case in Florida, this from Gainesville:


                                The cases are not related to an EHV-1 outbreak in Western states that resulted from an infectious horse at a horse show in Utah, according to Bill Jeter, state bureau chief of animal disease control.

                                Most horses are infected with the EHV-1 virus by age 2, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The virus remains in a latent stage in many horses but can flare up with stress and become infectious. It can lead to respiratory problems and abortion, but a mutant strain attacks the brain and spinal cord.

                                Jeter said horse owners should always take steps to avoid infection, such as isolating new horses on a farm, not sharing water and feed buckets with other horses at horse shows and letting horses rest during long trips.
                                There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams


                                • I'm shipping a mare from central Calif to Wi in late June. Is there a website I can check for transport restrictions/requirements so I can get her home? Does anyone know if they're checking horse transporters in any of the affected states and requiring additional paper work besides a coggins and health certificate. The transporter is only stopping for breaks and Callie will not get off the trailer until she gets home.


                                  • Info for Colorado (updates as well as requirements) here:
                                    "When life gives you scurvy, make lemonade."


                                    • Interesting article about the 2nd horse in Bakersfield: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la...,5037060.story


                                      • Capital Press ran an article this morning on the virus (http://www.capitalpress.com/newslett...-update-052711 - might need to be a subscriber to access it) and it says "Washington has had six positive cases but no deaths. Oregon has had four confirmed cases and one horse in that state that developed severe neurological symptoms was euthanized." The WA number matches what I see at the WSDA site, but Oregon VMA still shows just 3 cases and no deaths, so not sure about the 4th one Capital Press reports. Anyone know where that one was, or is it a reporting error?

                                        ETA - see later post as Oregon VMA has now updated info to reflect 4 positives, including 1 euthanized.
                                        Last edited by horsepoor; May. 24, 2011, 04:36 PM. Reason: Found Answer


                                        • They talked about it on NPR this morning.

                                          chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).