May 17, 2011 4:00 PM by Elaine Sheridan

More horses in Colorado may have fatal disease

More horses might have a potentially fatal horse disease in Northern Colorado.

The Colorado Department of Agriculture says that Equine Herpesvirus(EHV-1) was confirmed in two horses that live on separate properties in Weld County; those properties have been quarantined. Now 4 other horses are starting to show clinical signs and could be also be infected causing the quarantine to be extended to properties in Boulder, Larimer, and Mesa Counties.

One horse was euthanized after showing severe neurological signs associated with the disease and the second horse is under observation.

Both horses with confirmed EHV-1 had recently attended the National Cutting Horse Association's Western National Championships in Utah, so the Utah State Veterinarian is working with the Colorado's State Veterinarian, Dr. Keith Roehr.

" The Department is taking quick and appropriate actions to control and mitigate this disease," said Dr. Roehr. " We will continue to trace the movement of these horses and those horses they came into contact with in order to protect Colorado's equine industry."

While EHV-1 isn't transmissible to people; it is a serious disease in horses that can cause death.

The Department also reminds horse owners to consider this disease risk before transporting horses. Like any disease, EVH-1 can transfer from nose-to-nose contact. It can also be spread by contaminated tack, equipment, and people's clothing. In addition, the virus can be spread through aerosols (airborne) for a limited distance.

"This disease can have tremendous affects on the horse community and I encourage horse owners to be vigilant about the disease prevention methods they use within their premises," said State Veterinarian, Dr. Keith Roehr. "Colorado livestock owners have always been diligent about protecting the health of their animals and this is an important time to continue or implement proper biosecurity practices."

Symptoms include fever, decreased coordination, nasal discharge, urine dribbling, loss of tail tone, hind limb weakness, leaning against a wall or fence to maintain balance, lethargy, and the inability to rise. While there is no cure, the symptoms of the disease may be treatable.



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