(Sheridan, Wyo) While the threat concerning the Equine Herpesvirus is rapidly deteriorating, Campbell County horse owners aren’t out of the woods yet.
Recently, four cases of EHV-1 and Equine Herpesvirus Myeloencephalopathy, or EHM, have been confirmed in Campbell County.
At the time, it was deduced that the first two horses infected with the virus had frequented facilities at the Cam-Plex, sparking an immediate hold on all horse-related activities associated with the Cam-Plex.
The Animal Medical Center of Wyoming reported earlier this week that the first horse was euthanized due to the advanced neurological signs. The other three horses are currently receiving treatment, said Thach Winslow, assistant state veterinarian with the Wyoming Livestock Board.
Winslow said that the neurological signs aligned with symptoms associated with EHM, as EHV-1 typically results in respiratory illnesses.
Cam-Plex Operations Manager Greg Rook said during a public forum last night that staff has finished sanitizing potentially infected locations within the facility using a fast acting Virkon disinfectant solution.
The Cam-Plex is moving ahead with a bull riding event, Bulls and Scooting, scheduled for tomorrow night. The outbreak has, however, impacted the event somewhat as the bronc riding portion remains cancelled.
“But in the meantime, I have [Virkon solution] left over so I’m actually going to go back through and disinfect both barns again,” Rook said.
Winslow said that the threat hasn’t dissipated entirely and concerned horse owners should still take precautions to prevent spreading the virus.
Winslow said that the most important tool at the disposal of horse owners is monitoring their horse’s temperature. Potentially infected horses should have their temperature checked at least twice a day.
“You can’t hide a fever,” Winslow explained.
Should a horses rectal temperatures be elevated, at or above 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit, horse-owners should contact their veterinarian immediately.
Winslow said that EHV-1 and EHM symptoms typically show within 10 days of the horse contracting either virus.
Isolation is key.
Infected horses should be quarantined immediately from other horses, as both strains of the Equine Herpesvirus are highly contagious and can easily be transmitted from horse to horse.
The isolation period should generally run for 21 days.
Horse owners should also take precautions when interacting with potentially infected horses, as the virus can easily use humans as a bridge to jump from horse to horse, Winslow said.
But horse owners shouldn’t let the risk of infection worry them too much.
“We can’t let an incident like this affect what we do,” Winslow said.
He said that there is a risk involved in nearly everything, from driving a car to flying in an airplane, but people do them nonetheless.
The threat shouldn’t keep horse owners from doing what they love the most, riding their horses.