Thursday, May 19, 2011

Horse Health is always an Issue

Don't let the panic and over blown news hype on the recent outbreak of Equine Herpes get the better of you. Get the facts take appropriate precautions and relax. If you are not riding a cutting horse or board with cutting horses the chances are pretty slim that your horse has been exposed to the disease. Remember the disease started at a major Cutting horse show in Utah and there are only 10 confirmed cases in California. Please read the latest update:

EHV-1 Disease Update as of 6pm 5/17/2010  
·       10 confirmed cases of Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy caused by EHV-1.
o   All Confirmed Cases are Cutting Horses who participated in the Odgen, Utah National Cutting Horse Association’s Western National Championships
o   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, CA
o   A second positive horse was transported to University of California Davis and is undergoing treatment.
o   All positive confirmed cases will be placed under quarantine.
o   The positive confirmed cases are located in the following counties: Amador(1), Kern (2), Napa (1), Stanislaus(4), and Placer (2).

·       Currently there is no evidence of EHV-1 disease spread outside the cutting horses who participated in the Odgen, Utah event.
·       Biosecurity Recommendations for horses who attended the Odgen, Utah Event or the Bakersfield, CA event
o   Isolate exposed horse a minimum of 30 feet away from all other horses (round pen if necessary) for 21 days
o   Monitor temperature twice a day for 14 days.
o   Immediately report temperatures over 102F to your private veterinarian.
o   Use separate equipment, bucket, halters/leads for isolated horse.
o   Use protective clothing when handling isolated horse- coveralls, boot covers, gloves. Do not use same clothing with other horses
o   Ideally, use separate personnel for isolated horses.
o   Restrict movement.
·       Key to limiting disease spread is Isolation of sick horses. Sick horses are shedding virus and should be removed from exposing additional horses.
·       California Department of Food and Agriculture is working with animal Health officials in the western states to investigate the source of the disease outbreak.

SACRAMENTO, May 17, 2011 – Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy (EHM), caused by Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1), has been confirmed in 10 horses in California, in Kern, Placer, Stanislaus, Amador and Napa counties. One horse in Kern County was euthanized after showing severe neurologic signs often associated with the disease. All of the infected horses recently attended the National Cutting Horse Association’s Western National Championships in Odgen, Utah on April 30 – May 8, 2011, where they were most likely exposed to the virus.  All California horses that have been in contact with an infected horse and show signs of disease or test positive for EHM will be placed under a CDFA quarantine in order to limit spread.  This disease outbreak is evolving and CDFA will continue to investigate cases and provide updated information.
 The California Department of Food and Agriculture has contacted all 54 exhibitors from California who participated in the Odgen, Utah event and asked them to isolate and monitor their horses for clinical signs of EHV-1.  A rectal temperature in excess of 102F commonly precedes other clinical signs.  Therefore, horse owners with potentially exposed horses are urged to take temperatures on each individual horse twice a day.  If a temperature above 102F is detected, the horse’s private veterinarian should be contacted immediately for evaluation and laboratory testing. 
 Equine Herpes virus is a contagious disease and may spread quickly among horse populations. EHV-1 is not transmissible to humans. Horse-to-horse contact, aerosol transmission, and contaminated hands, equipment, tack and feed all play a role in disease spread.  Horses infected with the neurologic strain of EHV-1, may show any of the following clinical signs:  nasal discharge, lack of coordination, hind-end weakness, lethargy, urine dribbling and diminished tail tone.  There is no specific treatment for EHM.  Treatment may include intravenous fluids, anti-inflammatory drugs and other appropriate supportive treatment.  Immediate separation and isolation of identified suspect cases and implementation of appropriate biosecurity measures are key elements for disease control.  Currently, there is no equine vaccine that has a label claim for protection against the neurologic strain of this virus.
Steve Lyle, Director of Public Affairs 
California Department of Food & Agriculture
(916) 654-0462
 Katie Flynn, BVMS, MRCVS
Equine Staff Veterinarian
Animal Health Branch
1220 N Street A 107
Sacramento,CA 95814

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