Virus danger prompts organizers to cancel Fallon rodeo
The spectre of an equine herpes virus outbreak has prompted organizers to cancel the Nevada Junior-High School Rodeo scheduled in Fallon this weekend.
State Veterinarian JJ Goicoechea said a positive case in Humboldt County traced back to the March 8-10 Nevada Junior-High School Rodeo event in Fernley.
He reports that two horses in Clark County tested negative for the virus, and that the Humboldt quarantine will expire Friday before the Fallon event.
“The quarantine on this horse will expire before the Fallon rodeo event, so I have not recommended canceling it,” Goicoechea said. “However, I absolutely support their decision, and I thank them for continuing to make tough decisions in efforts to stop this outbreak.”
Goicoechea said no event cancellations are recommended at this time. He stressed the importance of practicing good biosecurity and never traveling with horses showing any signs of illness.
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. A list of reportable diseases can be found at agri.nv.gov.
“The most important thing right now is that new positive cases of EHV-1 get reported to us immediately,” Goicoechea said. “It’s a law that helps us protect against the spread of disease, and we appreciate the horse community’s continued support.”
Goicoechea recommended horse owners follow best biosecurity practices as event season is underway, and always monitor horses for signs of disease, like fever or runny nose.
Biosecurity 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.