The threat of an Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) outbreak forced the postponement of the “Dog and Pony Show” scheduled for June 4, 2011 at the Palo Cedro Park. EHV-1 causes respiratory disease, abortion and neurological symptoms in horses, ponies, minis and zebras and may be transmitted to burros, llamas, and alpacas.
Because the virus is easily spread from horse to horse by direct contact, by infected droplets in the air, by contact with contaminated surfaces (fences, buckets or a common water source) and by droplets being carried on human’s clothing, both state and local veterinarians are recommending that horse owners forego all non-essential transport of their animals until the outbreak is over. Organizers of the Dog and Pony Show, which was jointly sponsored by the Palo Cedro Park and Another Chance Animal Welfare League, hope to reschedule it in the fall after the danger has passed.
The current outbreak originated at the National Cutting Horse Association Championships in Ogdon, Utah attended by 308 horses from 18 Western states during the first week in May. As of May 26, the California Department of Food and Agriculture reported 18 confirmed cases in 12 counties, including one in Shasta County. Nationwide 44 cases have been confirmed in nine western states. All the known cases have been quarantined and at least one horse with severe neurological symptoms has been euthanized, but authorities caution that horses at risk for secondary exposure may not show symptoms for up to 21 days.
Horse owners who are concerned about their horses contracting the disease should take preventative measures such as isolating any new equine arrivals for at least 21 days, avoiding using grooming tools, feed or water buckets for more than one horse without washing them in a disinfectant such as bleach in between, making sure visitors who have been at other horse facilities, such as farriers or trainers, disinfect their hands and boots before handling any of the horses. Most generic disinfectants are effective in killing the EHV-1 virus.
Dog and Pony Show chief organizer Nancy Wickland would like to express her thanks to all of those on the steering committee who worked very hard to “make the show happen on June 4, especially Miriam Potts, Joyce Darrow, Kathy Darrow, Margaret Mullis, Fred Quigley, and Joan Bradshaw.”