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Washington State Veterinarian Cautions Horse Owners About EHV-1 Outbreak

Washington State Veterinarian Cautions Horse Owners About EHV-1 outbreak

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A Washington horse that attended the National Cutting Horse Association event in Ogden, Utah from April 30 to May 8, tested positive for Equine Herpes Virus 1 (EHV-1), a highly contagious animal disease. Several confirmed cases in horses with severe symptoms have been diagnosed in Utah, Colorado and elsewhere.

Symptoms in horses include fever, sneezing, excessive salivation and other mild symptoms. Serious cases of the disease are rare, but can include staggering, hind-end paralysis and even death. The disease is not contagious to humans.

“While I have not yet placed any restrictions on the movement of animals, I strongly suggest that horse owners isolate animals that attended the Western National Championships in Ogden, Utah,” says Leonard Eldridge, DVM, Washington state veterinarian. “For the protection of other horses, these owners are advised to keep their animals home for a couple of weeks.”

The disease is spread from horse to horse through direct contact, on feed, tack and equipment or on the clothes and hands of horse owners. Considering the possibility of disease spread, owners are advised to carefully wash their hands and equipment to prevent the spread of the virus.

The time of exposure to illness of EHV-1 is typically two to 14 days. Horse owners attending the Ogden show should consider limiting the movement of their horses and isolate them from other horses to prevent further spread of the virus.

The EHV-1 positive horse that attended the Ogden show was treated at the Washington State University (WSU) veterinary teaching hospital in Pullman and was confirmed over the weekend. Blood samples from several other Washington horses that attended the Utah event are currently being tested at WSU’s Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory.

Horses that show symptoms of EHV-1 should be seen by a veterinarian. Positive cases of EHV-1 must be reported to the State Veterinarian’s Office at (360) 902-1881. More information on the virus can found by clicking here.

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