Update: State recommends cancelling weekend horse events
Cancellation or postponement of all Nevada horse events this weekend was recommended by the Nevada Department of Agriculture in light of statewide exposure to equine herpes virus.
State Veterinarian JJ Goicoechea strongly urged all equine events scheduled for this weekend to be canceled, especially in Southern Nevada, in efforts to slow the spread of the virus.
“Our recommendation is based on the likelihood of statewide exposure at an event March 8-10 in Fernley, and we are coordinating with event managers to take every precaution to mitigate continued spread,” Dr. Goicoechea said.
One positive case of equine herpes virus type 1 with neurologic signs was reported in Clark County, and Goicoechea ordered a quarantine.
Goicoechea previously recommended all Southern Nevada equine events scheduled for this weekend (including Pahrump) be postponed.
There is no public health risk, therefore, details about the facility will not be released per NRS 571.160.
“I have issued this quarantine to help prevent the spread of disease during equine event season in Nevada and surrounding states,” Goicoechea said. “Equine Herpes Virus-1 can cause respiratory disease in young horses, abortions in pregnant mares and neurologic disease in older horses.”
Horses at the Nevada State Junior/High School Rodeo that took place Feb. 22-24 in Pahrump may have been exposed and should be monitored for signs of disease, such as fever, cough or runny nose.
The average incubation period for EHV-1 is four to seven days, but some may take up to 14 days. Eight to 12 days after infection first appears, neurological disease may occur.
The virus is a reportable disease, meaning when veterinarians diagnose it, they are required to notify the Nevada Department of Agriculture, per NRS 571.160.
“I urge all horse owners to monitor their horses closely, taking temperatures twice daily and seeking veterinarian care for any fevers over 102 degrees,” Goicoechea said. “It is especially important to practice biosecurity to minimize the risk of spreading disease.”
That means doing everything possible to reduce chances of an infectious disease being transferred by people, animals, equipment or vehicles. EHV-1 and other diseases can be easily transferred on boots, coats, gloves and equipment. Some basic practices include:
- Never share equipment between horses, and always wear clean clothes when going from ill horses to others.
- Always start chores at healthy horses, and end with sick or recovering (within 30 days) horses.
- Avoid common areas such as hitching rails, wash racks, etc. during an outbreak.