Montana Sees First Case of Equine Herpes


The following is a press release from the Montana Department of Livestock:

The Montana Department of Livestock today reported that a clinically healthy horse in Gallatin County has tested positive for Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1).

“We have a non-clinical EHV-1 positive case associated with the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Western National Championships in Ogden, Utah, April 30-May 8, 2011,” said Dr. Marty Zaluski, state veterinarian. “Fortunately, this horse not only remains healthy, but has been separated from other horses since returning from Ogden.  

The horse, a 13-year-old gelding located in Gallatin County, attended the NCHA event where the initial exposure occurred. A total of 88 confirmed EHV-1 or EHM cases have been reported in 10 western states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah and Washington) since the event; 12 horses have either died or been euthanized following the most severe form of illness, which causes a variety of neurological symptoms

The horse has been stabled in a stall and isolated from other horses on the premises since attending the Utah event, and has been routinely tested by its owners.

EHV-1 can cause a wide range of symptoms, from a complete lack of clinical signs to fever, nasal discharge or more serious neurological symptoms, at which point it is characterized as Equine Herpesvirus Myeloencephalopathy (EHM).  Incoordination, hind-end weakness, lethargy, urine dribbling and diminished tail tone are frequent signs of EHM. Acute paralytic syndrome is another possible consequence, which results in high mortality.

The virus is easily spread by airborne transmission, horse-to-horse contact and by contact with nasal secretions on equipment, tack, feed and other surfaces. People can spread the virus to horses by means of contaminated hands, clothing, shoes and vehicles.

Zaluski said event coordinators and participants need to be aware of the disease and take extra precautions.

“Any public event always carries some degree of risk, and horse owners and event coordinators should be aware of common signs of disease,” Zaluksi said. “Specific guidelines for event organizers and coordinators can be found on our web site (”

Equine owners who are concerned about the safety of their animals should consider monitoring the temperature of their animals twice daily for 7-14 days. Horses with a rectal temperature greater than 101.5 should be considered febrile and a veterinarian should be consulted. Event organizers should consider requiring temperature records for participation in events.

For additional information, please see:

Guidelines for Event Organizers,

USDA-APHIS EHV-1 Information,

Source:  MT Department of Livestock

Posted by Haylie Shipp


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