If the Show Must Go On: UC Davis Revises EHV Biosecurity Advisory Procedures for Horse Show, Event Organizers

Should you go© Should you stay home© The University of California at Davis has new recommendations for horse show organizers in that state that should help improve biosecurity of horses that are competing during the EHV-1 outbreak in that state. (Carol von Canon image)

California continues to lead the list of states most impacted by the recent outbreak of Equine Herpes Virus, Type 1, in the West. As of 3 p.m. yesterday, the state was reporting 18 positive confirmed cases, of which 16 are in horses that attended the NCHA event in Utah earlier this month. The other two cases are horses that came into contact with Utah-returning horses at the Kern County Cutting Horse Event on May 13th.

The University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine has been very pro-active in providing information about the disease and biosecurity in general. Today they issued an updated set of guidelines for horse event organizers on how to manage biosecurity in light of the current outbreak.

Editor’s note: The following update was published on May 24, 2011 and? replaces the statement of May 20, 2011, from the University of California School of Veterinary Medicine and is printed as provided by the University.

When the current EHV-1 outbreak began, horse owners were initially advised to avoid nonessential transport of their animals to reduce the risk of exposure to, or spread of the virus among the horse population. Now that we have obtained more information through ongoing testing, reporting and monitoring, we have concluded that the EHV-1 infection outbreak is centered around horses that were present at the National Cutting Horse Association’s Western National Championships (NCHA) held at the Golden Spike Event Center in Ogden, Utah from April 30th to May 8th and/or the Kern County Cutting Event in Bakersfield, California, on May 13th. This includes cutting horses that did not attend either of the above events but have subsequently come into contact with horses returning from those events.

Based on what is known today, we are suggesting that managers of horse shows or events occurring in California during the coming weeks incorporate the following biosecurity measures to minimize the risk for all participants:

1. Event managers should create a short document for participants to sign upon arrival at the show grounds to confirm that their horses, mules, and burros attending the show/event have not attended or had prior contact with horses from the NCHA Championships in Ogden, Utah and/or the Kern County Cutting Event in Bakersfield, California, or been on the same premises with horses that have returned from these events.? Horses that have attended, or been exposed to horses returning from either event will not be allowed to enter the show grounds.

2. Establish a “No Fever” policy for horses attending the event. Give the participants prior notice of the new “No Fever” policy before they arrive at the show grounds. Provide instructions for obtaining the horse’s temperature and an index card on which to record temperature readings for each horse.

  • a. All horses will have temperatures taken twice daily and results will be posted on front of the stall/pen for inspection.
  • b. Any horse will be subject to random temperature check by the show veterinarian or designated member of the veterinary staff during the event.
  • c. Any horse with a fever of 102°F or greater will be removed from the event and premises immediately (i.e. within 2 hours of detection of fever).
  • d. If the owner cannot move the horse off the premises, a professional horse hauler contracted by the event will remove the horse to a designated isolation area at the owner’s expense.

It is understood that some (most) horses with a fever will not have EHV-1; however, in the interest of conducting a safe event under the current circumstances, the “No Fever” policy will be enforced. If you do not wish to comply with these safety measures please do not attend the event.

(end of advisory document)

Note: The University of California at Davis is inviting equine practitioners to attend a free seminar and dinner on EHV with Dr. Kent Fowler of the California Department of Food and Agriculture and faculty of the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital on Friday, May 27, 2011. Details are on the UCDavis web site news page.




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