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Rare case of equine herpes identified in Vermont

Published: Apr. 17, 2021 at 8:35 PM EDT
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ALBURGH, Vt. (WCAX) - Horse competition season is coming up, and experts say owners should be extra careful about keeping them healthy. That’s because an animal in Alburgh is sick with a contagious virus known to cause outbreaks.

It’s equine herpes. The Vermont State Veterinarian Kristin Haas says most horses will contract the virus at some point in their lives, presenting with respiratory symptoms, but this neurological presentation is much more unusual. It’s sometimes called Equine Herpesvirus Myeloencephalopathy (EHM). Haas stresses to always quarantine horses for several weeks before they attend events, where spread is likely.

When horses are away from home, Haas suggests keeping the animals at a safe distance, just like humans have practiced for the past year.

“The most common way for this disease to spread is through horse-to-horse contact, but it can also be carried from one horse to another through tack, buckets, wheelbarrows, supplies, and on people’s bodies and footwear, and things like that,” said Haas.

The virus cannot be passed to people. The infected horse in Alburgh is currently in quarantine. If your horses display a fever or other sorts of neurological symptoms, such as trouble standing, call a veterinarian immediately.

For more information about this virus visit here.

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