AUSTIN - Animal Health officials nationwide are currently investigating the possible spread of the neurologic form of Equine Herpes Virus 1 (EHV-1) disease, which has been detected in horses that participated in the National Cutting Horse Association Western National Championships in Ogden, Utah from April 29 - May 8. EHV-1 is a viral disease of equine which does not affect humans. The neurologic form of the disease can manifest itself as hind limb weakness, tremors, recumbency or other nervous system type symptoms which may be preceded by fever or respiratory signs. The disease is most commonly spread by aerosol transmission and can result in death of the affected animal. Texas Animal Health Officials are currently investigating approximately 20 horses in Texas that were reported to have attended the event. All horses known to have attended the event are under movement restrictions. There are no cases of the disease in Texas at this moment.
Texas has only one confirmed clinical case of neurologic EHV-1 so far, which was a horse originating from New Mexico that sought treatment at a vet clinic in West Texas earlier this week. The horse has since been returned to New Mexico and is now quarantined on its premises of origin. A number of other states have also reported clinical cases in horses that attended the event. Texas veterinarians and TAHC officials will continue to monitor all exposed horses closely and it is possible that new cases will be diagnosed. “Strict adherence to the imposed movement restrictions and practicing good biosecurity procedures by the involved horse owners will be the key to limiting the scope of this situation”, stated Dr. Dee Ellis, Texas’ State Veterinarian.
“The TAHC has not recommended the cancellation of any events or imposed more stringent interstate entry requirements at this time, but that decision will be re-evaluated daily”, added Dr. Ellis. Horse owners are advised to contact their veterinarian or local TAHC office if they have any questions concerning the health of their equine. Biosecurity measures recommended for the exposed horses include isolation, daily temperature monitoring, use of separate tack and buckets, use of protective outer clothing by caretakers, disinfectant foot baths, and handling exposed animals last when feeding or providing care.
Horse owners planning on attending upcoming events are encouraged to contact event organizers in advance in case they have voluntarily cancelled the event. Horse owners should also contact the state of destination for any out of state shows they wish to attend to determine their latest entry requirements. The TAHC will continue to monitor the current situation and will provide timely updates as new information is received.
For information regarding EHV-1, visit www.tahc.state.tx.us . Several useful links can also be accessed through our website. You can also keep up with EHV-1 information through our Facebook (www.facebook.com/TexasAHC) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/TAHC).