May 19, 2011 1:53 PM by Elaine Sheridan
The outbreak of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) throughout the Western U.S. and Canada has prompted decisions to close arenas and shut down horse shows throughout the state.
The Norris-Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs, El Paso County Fairgrounds in Calhan, Fremont County's Pathfinder Regional Park and arena near Canon City, among others have all made the decision close for all horse-related events.
"This is a serious disease in horses and we are taking is seriously," says Bill Miller Manager of the Norris-Penrose Event Center. "We have over 60 horses boarding at the facility and we have told all the owners that if their horse is taken off the facility; they will not be allowed to come back until we are confident the disease is under control. We even told a circus coming this weekend that they couldn't bring their horses."
Fremont County Extension Director Tommy Covington said he received a recommendation from veterinarians at Colorado State University Extension to take the same precautions.
Several events planned for the El Paso County Fairgrounds also had to be canceled and horse owners can't bring their horses to the grounds. "We are taking precautions," Tim Wolken, Director of Community Services for El Paso County said. "Hopefully the spread of the disease will stop and we'll be able to have events in June."
EHV-1 is a highly contagious strain which specifically attacks horses and has caused deaths in horses over the last several days.
Right now the disease has only been confirmed in horses in Northern Colorado. Four counties - Boulder, Larimer, Mesa, and Weld - are being investigated for the disease and are under hold or quarantine orders.
The Colorado Department of Agriculture is working with the Utah State Veterinarian to investigate the location of the Ogden, Utah, cutting horse championships last week "as a point of interest for the infection".