Preliminary Tests in Oregon Identify Horse Show Infection as Equine Influenza A Virus

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Over the weekend, The Jurga Report shared news from Oregon about a group of sick horses at the Far West Championship Horse Show at the Deschutes Fairgrounds in Redmond. A statement from the show veterinary provider, Bend Equine Medical Center in Bend, Oregon, explained the medical situation of the undiagnosed respiratory infection in more than a dozen horses at the show.

Diagnostic tests require several days to complete. Without the test results, the veterinarians could not speculate on the cause of the respiratory symptoms.

Show management cancelled the remainder of the classes and horses were sent home. Owners of the sick horses were instructed to self-quarantine those animals upon their return.

On June 22, Bend Equine Medical Center issued an updated statement about the situation, which is passed along to you here.

"Samples from three of the affected horses were tested at the Oregon State University Veterinary Diagnostic Lab today and were confirmed to be positive for Equine Influenza A Virus. 

"The samples were negative for Equine Herpes Virus 1 & 4 and for Equine Viral Arteritis. The remainder of the samples will be tested via Merck's Equine Respiratory Pathogen Surveillance Program at UC Davis Veterinary Diagnostic Lab tomorrow, but we expect the results will confirm OSU's.

"All affected horses are recovering with only symptomatic treatment, though the number of cases has increased to approximately the mid 20s that we are aware of as of today.

"The Equine Influenza Virus (EIV) can persist in the environment (on inanimate objects) for only about 2-3 days, fortunately. Infected horses should be quarantined for 21 days and any exposed but non-symptomatic horses can be quarantined for 14 days. 

"This virus is very contagious, and can travel up to 50 yards through the air, so quarantine arrangement should take this into account.

"Infected horses should be rested from work for one week for every day of fever they experience or there is risk of cardiac muscle damage.

"Intranasal vaccines will provide the most rapid protection, usually by Day 5, against influenza. Intramuscular influenza vaccines are effective as well, but take longer (about 2 weeks) to provide protection. Make sure your vaccine carries the more recent strains (A2/Clade 1/North American).

"Here is a great info sheet for horse owners: http://www.aaep.org/custdocs/Influenza%20guidelines.pdf.

"And for those who enjoy the technical details: http://www.aaep.org/info/equine-influenza."

(end of statement)

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