Two Cases of Neurologic Equine Herpes Virus in Northwestern Wyoming

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The following information is provided by the State of Wyoming:

Wyoming Livestock Board staff veterinarians have announced that two cases of the neurologic form of Equine Herpes Virus Type 1 (EHV-1) have recently been discovered in northwestern Wyoming. One of them occurred in Teton County, the other in Park County. A total of seven horses were affected by the disease, one of which had to be euthanized. The remaining infected and exposed horses have been placed under quarantine.

It has been determined by the staff veterinarians that the two incidents are unrelated. No new cases have been reported since the two discoveries were made in Teton and Park counties.

EHV-1 is a serious viral disease of horses that can be spread through aerosol transmission. It is highly contagious, but the neurological form of it is rare. It appears suddenly and is usually rapidly progressing. The disease typically causes horses to develop a fever, lose control of their extremities, and can result in death.

According to Wyoming state veterinarian Jim Logan, Wyoming has seen previous cases of EHV-1 in past years, and there was a major outbreak of it nationally in 2011.

"This is not a new disease," added Thach Winslow, assistant state field veterinarian. "The risk for EHV-1 is always there because carrier horses cannot be identified. There is not a vaccine that is always effective in preventing the neurologic form of the disease, so the best prevention is good biosecurity."

Logan advises horse owners to be vigilant of their animals and try to prevent nose-to-nose contact with other horses as nasal secretions can be a main source of transmission. They should also make sure their horses are not sharing water buckets and feed troughs. If your horse develops fever, respiratory and/or neurological signs, immediately notify your veterinarian.

If horse owners have any questions or concerns regarding EHV-1, they are encouraged to contact their private practitioners. For further information, or to talk to a Wyoming state veterinarian, please call the Wyoming Livestock Board's Cheyenne office at 307-777-7515 or the Riverton Field Office at 307-857-4140.

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