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Equine Herpes Virus Confirmed In Idaho Horses - The Horse Owner's Resource

Equine Herpes Virus Confirmed In Idaho Horses

Two horses euthanized in Bonneville County; state officials consider incident "contained"
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The Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) reported Tuesday that two horses in Bonneville County were euthanized after displaying neurological symptoms consistent with Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1).

Laboratory testing conducted on one of the horses, before its death, confirmed the horse to be positive for the neurologic strain of EHV-1. 

In an interview with The Jurga Report today, Deputy State Veterinarian, Scott Leibsle, DVM, DABVP updated information previously reported with the key fact that both horses were located at a private facility. Neither horse had been off the property and there had been no new horses on or off the premises, he said. 

"It's not like Ogden," he said, referring to the EHV outbreak in 2011 at a competition facility in Utah. After an event, several horses infected with the virus left the facility and returned home or moved to other events; isolated related outbreaks occurred throughout the western states.

The remaining three horses on the Bonneville County premises are being monitored for symptoms, and neighbors have been notified, but there is no state-mandated quarantine. "The history is supportive of a contained incident," Dr. Leibsle told The Jurga Report.

Nonetheless, Dr. Leibsle sees this announcement as a good reminder to horse owners to check their practices when traveling and to be aware of the risks of infection with EHV.

In a press release issued Tuesday, Dr. Leibsle recommended that horse owners incorporate preventative biosecurity measures while transporting or boarding horses at facilities that have regular traffic on and off the grounds and especially where they are likely to come in contact with new or unfamiliar horses such as at a racetrack, rodeo or fairgrounds.

Simple guidelines such as 

1) disinfecting a stall before using it; 

2) never sharing water buckets, feed buckets, tack or grooming equipment; and 

3) avoiding unnecessary contact with other horses 

will go a long way in minimizing a horse’s risk of contracting the virus, according to Dr. Leibsle. 

“I encourage owners to contact their veterinarian immediately if and when they observe any symptoms of illness in their horses,” said Dr. Leibsle. EHV-1 is also a Notifiable Disease to the State Veterinarian in Idaho.

More about EHV-1 from Idaho State Department of Agriculture

Equine Herpes Virus is highly contagious among horses. Llamas and alpacas are occasionally affected but the virus poses no health threat to humans. Symptoms frequently associated with EHV-1 infection in horses include a fever (>101.5 F), incoordination, hind-end weakness, lethargy, incontinence and diminished tail tone. The virus is easily spread by airborne transmission, horse-to-horse contact and through contact with nasal secretions on equipment, tack, feed and other surfaces. People can spread the virus to horses by means of contaminated hands, clothing, shoes and vehicles. Currently, there is no equine vaccine to protect against the neurological strain of the EHV-1 virus. 


Anyone suspecting or confirming a case of EHV-1 in Idaho should call (208) 332-8540 or (208) 332-8570 to report cases.

Additional resources provided by Idaho officials:

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