Symptoms of deadly horse virus explained

While the deaths of two horses have resulted from the Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) outbreak, USU Extension Veterinarian Dr. Kerry Rood said no new cases have developed recently. “When these horses developed those clinical signs they get down and become what we call recumbent, they lay down,” said Dr. Rood. “They have a difficult time dealing with it. It’s a traumatic thing for the horse and for the owner. Those two horses were euthanized.” Dr. Rood said while EHV-1 is not transmissible to humans it is transmissible from horse to horse. “It can happen through the sharing of tack, such as halters and blankets, and things that might come in contact with the nasal discharge of the horse. “When a horse is infected the owner will notice the horse is just not acting right. It may be a bit more reluctant to move. That might be a good time to check its temperature because these horses will usually spike or have an elevated temperature. Normal temperature for a horse is about 100 degrees. That may indicate it is infected with something.” Rood said when the disease emerged the initial recommendation from the state veterinarian was correct. “The direction we received was to err on the side of caution,” he said. “We didn’t know the extent of the disease then and how widespread it was. At that point it was decided to restrict horse shows and movement of horses. “As we get further along and we have no new cases developing, our comfort level increases for allowing these shows and events.” While this neurological form of the equine herpes virus has grabbed the headlines, Dr. Rood says another concern looms as summer approaches after a long, wet spring. “We have the potential to have cases of West Nile Virus, so horse owners should really be sure their vaccinations are up to date on their horses.”

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