May 16, 2014 11:11 AM by Elaine Sheridan
A horse that competed on the Colorado rodeo and barrel racing circuit has tested positive for a virus that can cause breathing problems and nervous system disorders.
The Colorado Department of Agriculture's State Veterinarian's Office said Friday that the horse was euthanized after developing neurological problems because of the equine herpes virus. Another competitive horse from the same stable is now sick, and is believe to have Equine Herpes Myeloencephalitis (EHV-1)
The horse who tested positive and its stablemates competed in National High School Rodeo and Colorado Junior Rodeo Association events around Colorado, including Rocky Ford
State veterinarian Keith Roehr is warning the owners of other horses who competed in the same events to monitor their animals' health, including taking their temperature twice a day.
Because of these developments and the recent history of other EHV-1 cases in other states, the State Veterinarian's Office in Colorado recommends that equine event organizers and horse owners competing in the rodeo/barrel racing circuit exercise extreme caution with regards to the planning and holding of equine events.
"Disease prevention practices and good biosecurity should be implemented," said State Veterinarian, Dr. Keith Roehr. "Owners should consider the risk for exposure to EHV-1 at upcoming events to be elevated and owners may want to consider keeping their horses at home to limit their individual risk."
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 the inability to rise. While there is no cure, the symptoms of the disease may be treatable. EHV-1 is not transmissible to people; it can be a serious disease of horses that can cause respiratory, neurologic disease and death.