Horse disease halts events
By Kelly Donahue
Beacon Staff Writer
Published Thursday, May 19, 2011 7:09 PM MDT
CIBOLA COUNTY – An outbreak of the equine disease Rhino EHV-1 has led to the cancellation of all rodeo events at the Grants Rodeo Arena.
Jamie Holton of the Grants Rodeo Association said the group took voluntary action to halt events to check the spread of the disease
According to the website: bridleandbit.com, Equine Herpesvirus is a mutant strain of the neurological variation of Rhino. There is no vaccine for it, and it is lethal.
There are multiple confirmed deaths due to EHV in Arizona, California, Utah, Colorado, Canada, Idaho and is spreading. It is believed that a horse with the virus attended the National Cutting Horse Association Western National Championship in Ogden, Utah, and has caused a massive cross contamination.
This virus is much like Herpes Simplex Type 1 in humans. In fact, often after the horse has been exposed the virus, the virus remains latent much like Herpes Simplex Type 1 in humans. The horse may not show any clinical signs at all. A major concern of researchers and vets is, that because of this latency and lack of clinical signs, an affected horse could be transmitting the disease unknowingly. Researchers believe that there is evidence that supports the observation that a more virulent strain has emerged of the neurological form of EVH-1. They believe that the strain may have mutated. Its ability to reproduce more rapidly and to create very high levels of EHV leads to death.
EHV-1 virus is spread by direct contact of one horse to another, by contaminated hands, equipment, tack, and for a brief time through the air. It is very important to make sure that the horse’s environment is kept as clean as possible. It is also imperative that horses affected by the virus be isolated from the rest of their stable mates. Quarantine is best.