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California reports counties with EHV-1 cases

All NCHA events May 20-22 cancelled as precaution;
Western States Horse Expo, PtHA World still on schedule

Special to the Horsetrader - May 19th, 2011 - General News

SACRAMENTO — Six states and western Canada have reported cases of the EHV-1 virus since an alert spread this week, but officials are optimistic that awareness and good practices by horse owners will prevent an epidemic or a widespread cancellation of events into June.

In California, the State Department of Food and Agriculture announced that all 12 confirmed cases of the Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy caused by the EHV-1 virus are cutting horses who participated in the National Cutting Horse Association Western National Championships in Ogden, Utah, April 28-May 1. One positive horse was euthanized after showing severe neurological signs associated with the disease while at the Kern County Cutting Horse Event on May 13 in Bakersfield. A second positive horse was transported from the Bakersfield show to the isolation facility at the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at UC Davis and is undergoing treatment.

The remaining 10 positive cases are from Amador, Kern, Stanislaus and Placer counties, respectively.

As of today, the CDFA reports there is no evidence that the spread of EHV-1 disease has spread outside the cutting horses who participated in the Ogde, Utah, event. Horses that attended either the Ogden or Bakersfield cutting events are urged to undergo these “biosecurity recommendations”:

  • Isolate exposed horse a minimum of 30 feet away from all other horses (round pen if necessary) for 21 days
  • Monitor temperature twice a day for 14 days.
  • Immediately report temperatures over 102F to your private veterinarian.
  • Use separate equipment, bucket, halters/leads for isolated horse.
  • Use protective clothing when handling isolated horse- coveralls, boot covers, gloves. Do not use same clothing with other horses
  • Ideally, use separate personnel for isolated horses
  • Restrict movement

The key to limiting disease spread, says the CDFA, is the is isolation of sick horses –sick horses are shedding virus and should be removed from exposing additional horses.

In Utah, the state veterinarian announced today that five horses there have been confirmed with the EHV-1 virus. Bruce L. King, DVM, said the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food will continue to investigate suspect cases of EHV-1, but he added that recommended precautions do not include event cancellations.

“We are not recommending the cancellation of any events involving horses, mules, and/or burros at this time,” the Utah state vet said, adding that horses that attended the Ogden, Utah, event or have been in contact with horses that attended the event should be isolated and a minimum of two temperatures taken and recorded per day on each horse.

Veterinarians reiterate that horse owners need to be vigilant, looking for signs of the disease: fever, decreased coordination, nasal discharge, urine dribbling, loss of tail tone, hind limb weakness, leaning against a wall or fence to maintain balance, lethargy, and the inability to rise. Any abnormal signs should prompt an owner to immediately call the vet.

Officials at the Western States Horse Expo, scheduled for June 10-12 at Cal Expo in Sacramento, have announced their show will continue as planned, and today the Pinto Horse Association reported in its monthly newsletter that its 2011 PtHA World Championship Show June 7-18 will remain on schedule.

However, in a precautionary move, the NCHA on Tuesday canceled all NCHA events scheduled this weekend (May 20-22) by their respective affilliates or show producers. Organization officials said the NCHA applauds the move by show producers in a nationwide show of precaution and solidarity to help stop the spread of the contagious and potentially deadly EHV-1 virus among horses. The Texas Quarter Horse Association has also cancelled the cutting classes that had been scheduled within the Texas Classic Horse Show scheduled for May 24 – 25. Reports from the TQHA are that the other (non-cutting) disciplines of the Texas Classic will still be conducted.

The NCHA continues to closely monitor the situation of reported cases of Equine Herpesvirus (EHV-1) that were reportedly first clinically diagnosed in horses that attended the NCHA Western National Championships. The virus can be contagious among horses, but is NOT transmittable to humans. While the NCHA does not want to unnecessarily alarm horse owners, officials want to be a clearinghouse of factual information so horse owners can make informed decisions regarding their personal horses and production of NCHA-approved events.

9 comments have been made on “California reports counties with EHV-1 cases”

  1. Melissa Staudinger Says:

    The NBHA Supershow in Las Vegas which was scheduled for June 3-5 has been rescheduled for July 8-10.
    Thank you,

  2. Monica Whitmer Says:

    This announcement was sent out. I seriously doubt this horse was also a cutting horse – so we are beyond that simple deliniation.
    The horse was from Colorado and started exhibiting symptoms when it got home. The vet has confirmed that this is EHV-1.
    Beth Geier
    RMDS Central Office
    2942 Park Lake Drive
    Boulder, CO 80301
    720-890-7825 phone & fax”

    Also, in Southern California, there are two horses who have just started to show symptoms. These horses were at the Bakersfield cutting, but they share stabling with a number of eventing horses – so there is a very possibility of a cross discipline infection.

  3. Destri Devenport Says:

    Monica — Where exactly are the two horses that have it in southern California?
    Thanks, Destri

  4. R Terberst Says:

    Latest I have seen.

  5. Bobbie Pope Says:

    Where in Southern California?

  6. Warren Says:

    Bobbie, the latest official word from the California State Dept. of Food and Agriculture was that 12 California horses have tested EHV-1 positive — all from Northern California. We’re keeping contact with the CDFA and will post updates as they are received.

  7. Jane Frusetta Says:

    Should I be concerned about taking any of my horses to the locally arena up here in Calaveras County where I ride at on a regular basis or to a local schooling show coming up in Plymoth, CA?

  8. Jerri Lewis Says:

    Is there a vacination for this virus? I live in Norc- we have so many horses here.

  9. wendy wessel Says:

    I heard a case was confirmed in Ventura County as well as LA County on Sat. May 22, 2011. Can anyone verify this?

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