5-17-11

The Shelter will be closed to visitors until June 6th.

A deadly horse virus has come to California, Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy (EHM.)  We have been consulting with our vet, and we have decided to have no horses coming or going from the shelter until June 6th.  Our vet feels that unless more outbreaks happen, after June 6th we should be safe.   There is no specific treatment for this virus, and it spreads like wildfire from horse to horse.  If people are not careful, thousands of horses will have to be killed.  It is a fatal disease.

As such, we will not be accepting or bringing horses to our shelter during this time.  Our Safe Surrender Site at Look Ahead Vet will still be available to those who absolutely cannot keep their horses until after June 6th.  If at all possible, horses should not be moving around at all until this disease is contained and disappears.  We urge you to keep your horse home and keep your horse safe!  Normal blogs of the daily happenings will continue after June 6th, and as events unfold.

To watch Channel 10’s news report, click here.

California Food and Agriculture has released a statement about this virus.  You can read the statement below or click here.

SACRAMENTO, May 17, 2011 – Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy (EHM), caused by Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1), has been confirmed in 10 horses in California, in Kern, Placer, Stanislaus, Amador and Napa counties. One horse in Kern County was euthanized after showing severe neurologic signs often associated with the disease. All of the infected horses recently attended the National Cutting Horse Association’s Western National Championships in Odgen, Utah on April 30 – May 8, 2011, where they were most likely exposed to the virus.  All California horses that have been in contact with an infected horse and show signs of disease or test positive for EHM will be placed under a CDFA quarantine in order to limit spread.  This disease outbreak is evolving and CDFA will continue to investigate cases and provide updated information.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture has contacted all 54 exhibitors from California who participated in the Odgen, Utah event and asked them to isolate and monitor their horses for clinical signs of EHV-1.  A rectal temperature in excess of 102F commonly precedes other clinical signs.  Therefore, horse owners with potentially exposed horses are urged to take temperatures on each individual horse twice a day.  If a temperature above 102F is detected, the horse’s private veterinarian should be contacted immediately for evaluation and laboratory testing.

Equine Herpes virus is a contagious disease and may spread quickly among horse populations. EHV-1 is not transmissible to humans. Horse-to-horse contact, aerosol transmission, and contaminated hands, equipment, tack and feed all play a role in disease spread.  Horses infected with the neurologic strain of EHV-1, may show any of the following clinical signs:  nasal discharge, lack of coordination, hind-end weakness, lethargy, urine dribbling and diminished tail tone.  There is no specific treatment for EHM.  Treatment may include intravenous fluids, anti-inflammatory drugs and other appropriate supportive treatment.  Immediate separation and isolation of identified suspect cases and implementation of appropriate biosecurity measures are key elements for disease control.  Currently, there is no equine vaccine that has a label claim for protection against the neurologic strain of this virus.

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