Friday, June 3, 2011

Equine Herpes Virus - On the Move in Iowa


For those of you in the horse competition world, hopefully you've heard about the recent alarm with Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1). Several horses recently competed in the National Cutting Horse Association Western National Championship in Ogden, Utah on April 29-May 8 were diagnosed. They then traveled back home and infected other horses. Reports of affected horses have been received from multiple states and western Canada, with several fatalities- and that number is growing.

The scary thing for those in the Midwest is that five of the horses that attended the event are located at stables in Iowa! I actually know who the Iowa horses belong to and they went directly into isolation.

The major issue with this disease, other than killing horses, is how easy it spreads. It's airborne; it can be contamined through people's hands, equipment, clothing, trucks, etc.

Clinical signs include nasal discharge, incoordination, hind-end weakness, lethargy and diminished tail tone (it sounds a little bit like Jake's condition after too many Jack & Cokes). Besides the nasal discharge, it's very similar to West Nile (hence the neurological aspect). My pleasure mare got West Nile some years back when everyone had horses getting it. Luckily, she came right out of it with no life-long issues. I wish I could blame her moodiness on it, but I can't:).

Other than intravenous fluids or anti-inflammatory drugs, there's no cure. Long story short, this sucks! Not only are other NCHA events (where the event started) not taking place, but I've heard of some barrel bash and rodeo numbers being down because of this too.

Maybe in the end, this will help my chances this summer when running barrels. Maybe this will scare all the top girls to stay home, which allows me and ol' Jakers to move into the top. Ha!

USDA has posted links with information about EHV-1 and a copy of the situation report at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/vs/nahss/equine/ehv/ Be careful out there!

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