Home > Mass Animal Deaths, Pestilence > Equine Virus Outbreak Spooks Horse Owners Across Western U.S.

Equine Virus Outbreak Spooks Horse Owners Across Western U.S.


By Gale Holland – “The horse named Powered By Pep had just won his class at a competition in Bakersfield when his owner, David Booth, noticed that the animal was not quite himself.

‘A little slow-footed,’ the 22-year-old Acton rancher recalled Monday.

Booth had Pep’s temperature taken and soon discovered that his 7-year-old bay gelding had fallen victim to a dire outbreak of equine herpes virus-1, a highly contagious airborne virus that has killed or resulted in the euthanizing of at least seven horses this month and sown fear in equine circles across the Western states.

The outbreak started, authorities agree, at an event in Ogden, Utah, between April 18 and May 3, and has spread to nine states, including California, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington. Horse events from Tulsa, Okla., to San Diego County have been canceled because of the scare. Colorado, which has reported 22 suspected cases and two euthanizings, is requiring health certifications for horses crossing its border.” Read more.

Horse herpes: The virus behind the outbreak – “As an outbreak of highly contagious horse herpes infects horses across Western states, leaving some horses dead and prompting event organizers to cancel competitions, a closer look at the virus causing all the trouble would seem in order. But first, as Reuters reports: ‘Horses cannot infect humans but for the animals the symptoms of the virus include respiratory problems and hind-leg weakness, decreased coordination, nasal discharge and fever.'” Read more.

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