WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. - Presently there are no cases of equine herpes virus on the Navajo Nation. The Navajo Nation Veterinary and Livestock Program is advising horse owners of travel restrictions and recommendations from neighboring states.
Horses have tested positive for equine herpes virus, (EHV-1) after attending the
National Cutting Horse Association's Western National Championships in Ogden, Utah and a quarterhorse ride of over 1,000 horses in Bakersfield, Calif. Horse premise' are under quarantine by state officials in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, California, Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Nevada. An estimated 50 horses have died or had to be euthanized.
The EHV-1 virus is not transmitted to people. It can be a serious equine disease that can cause respiratory, neurological disease, abortions and death. The most common way for EHV-1 to spread is by direct horse-to-horse contact. It is also spread by sharing contaminated tack, equipment and people's clothing. In addition, the virus can spread through aerosols (airborne) for a limited distance. Symptoms include fever, decreased coordination, nasal discharge, urine dribbling, loss of tail tone, hind limb weakness, leaning against a wall or fence to maintain balance, lethargy and inability to rise. While there is no cure, the symptoms of the disease may be treatable.
Most farm/ranch and horse supply stores have started a "no return" policy on any item that may be used around horses including tack, clothing, saddles, buckets, feed, etc, to help prevent further spread through these types of horse items.
Horse owners should question whether to travel with a horse. It is recommended horse owners consider prior to traveling with a horse -
Consider the disease risk before transporting horses.
The only way to prevent the spread of EHV-1 is to stop the movement and co-mingling of horses.
Make sure horses are current on EHV-1 (Rhino) Vaccination.
Check with a veterinarian for state updates and keep health certificates updated.
Keep other horses away from your horses.
Use Biosecurity measures and hygiene to keep the area around your horses clean. Don't share tack, buckets, wash hands, etc.
Tips for shows/rodeos/ropings sponsors and organizers -
Have all horses checked at admission by organizers and refuse entry. Send home any horse with a temperature over 101 fahrenheit. Maintain a "no fever" policy.
Prevent communal feeding and watering areas. Stock water tanks are not recommended.
Wash hands following contact with horses.
Show and rodeo organizers should take the following responsibilities for health prevention -
Require Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI), also known as a health certificate.
Require a signed biosecurity agreement for all horse owners.
Maintain accurate addresses, telephone numbers and physical addresses for all attendees.
Postpone events if possible for the next two weeks.
Other states are also recommending that horse owners check horse temperatures every day and removed should a fever develop. (California is doing a twice a day "temp and time" that has to be posted on the stall/trailer for organizers or veterinarians to see).
The states of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah are strongly recommending that all major equine events are rescheduled for at least the next 7-10 days.
For more information, contact the Navajo Veterinary and Livestock Program at (928) 871-6615.