Following an April 10 announcement that a reining horse tested positive for the neurologic form of equine herpes virus (EHV-1), known as equine herpes myeloencephalopathy (EHM), officials are taking extra biosecurity measures.
The National Reining Breeders Classic (NRBC) is scheduled to begin April 14 at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center (GSEC) in Katy, Texas. After it was brought to the attention of the NRBC show management that a horse from Montgomery County, Texas, tested positive for EHM, officials sprang into action, as the positive horse attended March’s History & Champions Derby and Ride & Slide show in Ardmore, Oklahoma.
“We were able to identify the area and stall/location where the horse was during the stay at our premises,” Hardy Murphy Coliseum General Manager Jeff Storms said when he was made aware of the situation on April 11. “It has been thoroughly disinfected. We also have disinfected the entire facility here at the Hardy Murphy Coliseum.”
The April 10 press release from the Texas Animal Health Commission stated, “While the risk of exposure to the virus was likely low at the event, owners of horses potentially exposed are encouraged to take precautions.”
Because there are horses on site in Katy for the NRBC that attended the show in Ardmore, officials are asking that all NRBC exhibitors be vigilant in monitoring their horses. They said this is best accomplished by taking all horses’ temperatures twice daily and any temperature in excess of 102 degrees Fahrenheit (F) is cause for concern.
The NRBC and GSEC planned to place temperature charts on every horse’s stall. They will also place disinfectant sprayers and muck tubs in all of the wash racks.
Exhibitors should also look for signs of malaise (sickness), including coughing and nasal discharge, horses off their feed, etc. Officials asked that if a horse exhibits any of these signs, connections contact a veterinarian and show management immediately.
NRBC officials also asked that everyone use best practices for biosecurity protocol. They released the following list of recommendations:
- Limit direct contact with other horses and people. Do not allow horses to touch noses or visitors to touch your horse.
- Monitor horses for clinical signs and report temperatures in excess of 102 degrees F to veterinarians and show management.
- Avoid sharing equipment unless thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between uses.
- Do not dip the end of a hose in water buckets.
- Use different wheelbarrows for feeding and cleaning stalls.
Those with questions should contact Amy Uniss-Coleman, of the GSEC, at 281-978-0767, or Mike Christian, of the NRBC, at 817-233-5708.