Sunday, September 18, 2011
As you may have heard, there is immediate concern in our area about the presence of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1), a very contagious and potentially fatal equine virus. Last Thursday a horse from the Pigeon Forge/Sevierville area was admitted to the UT Vet Hospital with a neurological form of the virus and subsequently euthanized. The Vet School is under quarantine for a minimum of 7 days; it has released an official statement here: http://www.vet.utk.edu/news/story/important-information-about-equine-herpes-.html.
The best-case scenario is that this as an isolated case. However, there is concern circulating among local vets and horse owners that until further information is gathered it is not a situation that should be lightly considered. EHV-1 is EXTREMELY contagious and spreads via aerosol (airborne) and formites (feed, clothing, boots, hands, etc.)
This is a critical time for the local horse community to work together to prevent the spread of this virus. There's no reason to panic; however, if all area horse farms dedicate themselves to taking the appropriate precautions, we can minimalize the potential of EHV-1 spreading.
The best way to prevent EHV-1 exposure is to quarantine your horses and barn from other equine traffic. CDCTS has, smartly, cancelled its schooling show for next weekend. Here at Ridgemor, we've decided that it's in the best interest of our horses to mandate a quarantine on our farm until we know more about the situation. We hope other area farms will consider adopting similar measures until the situation has been resolved. Other precautions you can take include exercising bio-security measures (disinfection, etc.) if traveling from barn to barn and carefully monitoring your own horses for symptoms.