A day that began with show cancellations and a vet school hospital closing is ending with a state government quarantining horse farms even though there are no signs of disease. The unfolding saga of the possible cutting horse dispersal EHV outbreak is challenging everyone from horse owners to farriers and all the way up to state government officials.
This evening, the State of Nebraska Department of Agriculture announced a precautionary move that is the most dramatic since Colorado announced the first definite diagnosis of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) on Friday afternoon. Two horses in Colorado's Weld County had been at a National Cutting Horse Association event in Ogden, Utah over Mother's Day weekend, where they and other horses are believed to have been infected with the neurologic form of EHV.
After evaluating the situation, Nebraska State Veterinarian Dr. Dennis Hughes has placed five horse premises in his state under quarantine.
"The horse premises that are quarantined in Nebraska may have come into contact with infected horses during the National Cutting Horse Association's Western National Championships in Ogden, Utah," said Dr. Hughes. "We are acting quickly to take appropriate measures to protect our horse industry. Our staff is working with the quarantined horse premise owners to monitor for signs associated with the disease."
The Nebraska Department of Agriculture is encouraging all horse owners to follow these four biosecurity measures on their operations:
- require individuals to wash their hands before and after contact with each horse;
- avoid contact with other horses;
- disinfect boots and change clothes that come into contact with other people's horses;
- isolate horses returning from shows for 2-3 weeks. Horse owners can contact Nebraska authorities or monitor more announcements on the Nebraska Department of Agriculture web site.