Confirmed and Suspected Cases of EHV-1 Rising in Minnesota

March 24th, 2014 1:13 PM | No Comments

By Gabrielle Sasse,

horse vaccine featuredMarch 24, 2014- At least four confirmed cases and three deaths have been linked to Equine herpesvirus 1 or EHV-1. EHV-1 is spread from horse to horse contact, as well as from human skin, grooming supplies, gates, etc that have come in contact with the infected animal. This outbreak involves the non-neuropathogenic strain, which can cause neurologic symptoms but is much less virulent than the neuropathogenic strain. Early signs can include fever.

On March 7th, two Barrel horses located in Minnesota have tested positive for EHV-1, resulting in at least one horse being euthanized. One horse has been known to have shown at the Minnesota Equestrian Center’s barrel show, who then hosted a Quarter Horse show. No further associations with the MEC and EHV-1 cases have been made, and the few (non Barrel) Quarter Horses that have been tested have been negative.

According to a further statement by Stillwater Equine Vet made on March 22: “To date there have been six suspected cases of EHV 1.
Four of the six have tested positive, two of the six are pending test results, three have been euthanized, and three are recovering.” According to the clinic, “all of the six cases are barrel horses or are on farms that have barrel horses.” Neurological symptoms include: “Hind leg Ataxia (look drunk), abnormal urination or unable to urinate, fall down and some are unable to get up.” Visit their Facebook page for more information.

The Minnesota Equestrian Center has issued a statement:

“The Minnesota Equestrian Center has hosted three shows in 2014 prior to its current show at this time, which began to arrive on Tuesday, prior to any knowledge of this scare. 
Our first event Feb. 28, was NCRHA – 100% percent health. Our second event barrel racing had one horse testing positive for EHV-1. This horse was stabled at a high traffic boarding facility prior to and after, approximately 2 hours from us and showed no signs of illness until the following Saturday after leaving our facility, which included a full week of normal riding. At this time, this is the only known case that has involved the MEC directly. We sanitize, and leave our barns cold and empty between shows. We always work hard to keep a clean show facility and continue to better ourselves every year. The other barrel horses affected by EHV-1 were not in our barns and in fact the other positive cases were tested positive prior to March 7, when hosting our first Barrel Event. As always, thank you to our Clubs, Event coordinators and participants…”

Two positive EHV-1 cases (non-neuropathogenic strain) were from the same Chisago County facility in Minnesota, according to a March 20 statement by the Minnesota Board of Animal Health. Dakota and Hennepin counties have also found cases. All are advising horse owners to monitor their horse’s temperatures and behavior if suspected infection occurs. Report any sudden change to your vet immediately. The University of Minnesota College of Animal Health and Food Safety recommends isolating any horse that may be infected, and providing anti-inflammatory drugs and antiviral medications for treatment. EHV-1 is not a death sentence, when caught early enough and treated properly.

Participants and spectators are advised to double-check clinics, horse shows, and other dates before embarking. On Thursday, SC Productions LLC in Rochester proactively decided to cancel their March 29-30 Barrel Racing event.

“Due to the current situation in the local horse community, regarding the EHV-1 Virus, SC Productions is going to be Pro Active by canceling our barrel racing event that is scheduled for next weekend March 29th & 30th. In order to stop the spread of the EHV-1 Virus is to stop the movement of horses. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this matter we highly recommend talking to your veterinary directly to get the FACTS!”

The Oasis Equestrian Center in Lindstrom, Minnesota also canceled their Barrel Race.

“After consulting a veterinarian about the issues surrounding the recent virus outbreak affecting MN horses we have decided to CANCEL tomorrow nights barrel race. There has been NO signs or symptoms at Oasis Equestrian Center and we are aiming towards being cautious just in case… Hopefully we will be ready to run next week and we all have more information! Please feel free to contact us with any questions!”

Testing for the virus’ spread is currently ongoing in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and we will report on more details as they arise.



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