PRCA Animal Health Alert

by | Jan 23, 2015

Horse grazing

A Team Roping Horse that was at the Sand Hills Stock Show and Rodeo on January, 6th, 7th & 8th has tested positive for Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) – if you competed there at that time and had a horse on the grounds please read the message below. Rodeo Committees with rodeos going on now should work with their on-site veterinarian and put into place enhanced bio-security measures.

From the Texas Animal Health Commission:

On January 21, 2015, the Texas Animal Health Commission received a report that a horse was tested positive for Equine Herpes Virus -1. The affected horse exhibited a slowly progressive onset of symptoms which ultimately progressed into some of the classic signs of Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy (EHM), the neurologic form of Equine Herpes Virus -1 infection. The affected horse became ataxic and weak in the hind end, exhibited bladder atony and began dribbling urine. The horse has not become recumbent and is able to walk however, remains weak in the hind end.

The affected horse attended the Sand Hills Rodeo in Odessa, Texas and was on the premises there on January 6th, 7th, and 8th, then returned home. The Texas Animal Health Commission recommends that participants of the Sand Hills Rodeo monitor any horses that attended the event for clinical signs consistent with EHV-1. Equine Herpes Virus-1 (EHV-1), also known as “Rhino”, causes upper respiratory infection in young horses and abortion in pregnant mares. In rare instances, adult horses experience the respiratory form of EHV-1 and then develop the neurological form of the disease that affects the horse’s brain and spinal cord (also known as Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy, or EHM). Neurological symptoms include incoordination that can progress to the inability to stand, lower leg swelling, inability to urinate or pass manure, urine dribbling, reduced tail tone, and may result in paralysis and death. Transmission of EHV-1 occurs by direct or indirect contact with infective nasal discharges, aborted fetuses, placentas, or placental fluids.

Transmission can occur via aerosolized virus generated by coughing, as well as by direct contact with infected equines, feed, and equipment. There is currently no known method to reliably prevent the neurological form of EHV-1 infection. Sound management practices, including isolation of clinically ill and exposed equine, are important to reduce the risk of infection with EHV-1. Maintaining appropriate vaccination protocols may also be prudent in an attempt to reduce the incidence of the respiratory form of EHV-1 infection, which may reduce the neurologic form.

Horse owners planning on attending upcoming events are encouraged to contact event organizers in advance in case they have destination for any out of state shows they wish to attend to determine their latest entry requirements. The TAHC will continue to monitor the current situation and will provide timely updates as new information is received.

Anyone wishing to report a suspected or confirmed case of Neuropathogenic EHV-1 to the Texas Animal Health Commission can do so 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling: 1-800-550-8242.

Useful link:

End of TAHC message

If you had a horse on the San Hills Stock Show Grounds during the dates listed the PRCA recommends taking the temperature daily, minimizing nose to nose contact and equipment/facility sharing with horses that were not on the grounds. Contact your veterinarian immediately if the horse shows an elevated temperature or any of the other symptoms outlined above while at home and the on-site veterinarian if you are at a rodeo. Exercising an overabundance of caution will assist animal health officials and allow the rodeo industry to protect the health of our horses.

Courtesy of PRCA