Officials say a second Texas horse has been quarantined after showing symptoms of a neurological form of Equine Herpesvirus. The mare had reportedly attended two multi-day barrel races this month in Texas, including one that also hosted a rodeo.
The Equine Disease Communication Center, which tracks disease outbreaks in horses, reports the 16-year-old mare from Glasscock County, Texas, on April 14 began showing signs of ataxia and other neurological symptoms consistent with Equine Herpesvirus Myeloencephalopathy, a disease that is another name for neurologic Equine Herpesvirus – type 1 (EHV-1).
Officials say the mare had been at two competitions this month in Texas: A 7-day barrel race that started April 1 at the Brazos County Expo Center, in Bryan, and a 3-day barrel race starting April 12 at the Taylor County Expo Center in Abilene.
The Taylor County Expo Center held a Region II High School Rodeo at the same time as it hosted the barrel race that was attended by the mare, who has since been quarantined. The facility where the mare originated from also has been quarantined, according to the Equine Disease Communication Center.
The EHV-1 virus can manifest itself in horses in a number of ways, including as a respiratory infection and a neurologic condition.
The first case of EHV-1 in Texas this year was a 14-year-old reining horse from Montgomery County, which is north of Houston. That mare had recently attended the History & Champions Derby and Ride & Slide in Ardmore, Oklahoma.
In light of that positive, organizers at the National Reining Breeder’s Classic instituted temperature checks on horses attending the big reining event that is taking place right now at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center in Katy, Texas. Show officials planned to place temperature charts on each horse’s stall.
Two horses also tested positive for the non-neurologic form of EHV-1 after attending this year’s National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Stallion Stakes at the South Point Equestrian Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. They were among six confirmed cases of EHV-1 in the state of Nevada, which reports cases involving neurologic and non-neurologic forms of EHV-1.
The American Quarter Horse Association Level 1 World Championships, which was supposed to be held at the South Point this month, was postponed in light of the EHV-1 positives at the Stakes.
According to the Equine Disease Communication Center, neurologic EHV-1 has been reported this year in a number of states. Details of the cases are listed at the Center’s website, equinediseasecc.org.
The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) said that signs of the neurological form of EHV-1 — which, in severe cases, can result in death — include nasal discharge, incoordination, hind limb weakness, loss of tail tone, lethargy, urine dribbling, head tilt and the inability to rise. Horses also may lean against a fence or wall to maintain their balance.
Horses can contract EHV-1 through horse-to-horse or indirect contact, according to the AAEP. That includes contaminated equipment, trailers, grooming equipment, feed buckets and water buckets. Humans can also spread the virus to horses through contaminated hands or clothing.
For more news and information from the Western performance horse industry, subscribe to Quarter Horse News.