Belle Alert – Sick Horses

March 26, 2007

cow bell

We COWS love and treasure our horses so we want to spread a word of caution that a strain of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) has impacted horses near by and triggered some quarantines of our wonderful equine friends. A number of horse events have been postponed or cancelled.

We did a little research and this and we found that you do not have to worry about getting herpes from your horse. Cattle, cats, dogs, and people have their own strains of the herpes virus which are not contagious between species.

The virus can survive on inanimate objects such as bridles, bits, clothing, feed tubs, water buckets, tires, skin, your shoes and hair, for some period of time. Appropriate steps, such as cleaning, disinfecting and not sharing equipment should be taken to control the spread of EHV-1. It is spread directly between horses via the respiratory tract or from aborted fetuses, membranes and fluid. Infected foals can also pass the infection onto healthy mares via their respiratory systems. It can be spread by an asymptomatic horse. The disease progresses quickly from fever to muscle weakness and collapse.

According to the Mercury News, the chain of death is traced back to the Nov. 29, 2006 arrival of a shipment of five horses from Germany to New York. An animal headed to California died shortly after arrival. The U.C. Davis EHV-1 research team reports that the virus appears to be contained but precaution is warranted for the next two to three weeks to be sure of complete containment ( San Jose Mercury News Article).

We care about the horses that share our pasture and we wish our horse friends good health and hope this scourge passes quickly with no more sick horses.

For more information go to one of the following websites-

University of California-Davis Center for Equine Health

Maryland Department of Agriculture

Veterinary Parnter

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