The chiropractor appointment is cancelled, and I am not going to the schooling show in Moorpark. WHAT? I know ... pulled a shoe, no chiropractor, AND no show! How can it get it any stinkier? There's a reason. A recent outbreak of Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy (EHV-1) has been traced to horses who attended the National Cutting Horse Associations’ Western National Championships in Odgen, Utah on April 30 – May 8, 2011. California horses who participated in this event may have been exposed to this EHV-1 virus.
What does that have to do with the chiropractor and the show? I know that's what you're asking. Apparently riders at the Ogden show returned to Bakersfield and showed on Saturday at a facility in town. It has been reported that at least one horse has died already and several others are being treated. When the competitors at the local cutting show heard about the virus, many left the show grounds and escaped quarantine. Those horses returned to their own barns where they may or may not be contagious. The California Department of Food and Agriculture encourages owners of horses who participated in the Odgen, Utah event to isolate and monitor their horses for clinical signs of disease. They also recommend immediate separation and isolation of identified suspect cases and stress that implementation of appropriate biosecurity measures are key elements for disease control.
Since the EHV-1 organism spreads quickly from horse to horse and the neurologic form of the virus can reach high morbidity and mortality rates, I think it would be safer for the horses at the schooling show if Speedy G and I stay home, especially since the incubation period of EHV-1 is typically 2-10 days. Just in time for our arrival at Moorpark!
The barn owner where we were supposed to meet the chiropractor feels the same way. She has put her barn on lock-down: no horses in, no horses out. Cha Ching's mom isn't going to the hunter/jumper show at PDM tomorrow, either. Her barn owner doesn't want horses coming and going for the same reason, neither does her trainer.
Over kill? I don't know, but horse-to-horse contact, aerosol transmission, and contaminated hands, equipment, tack, and feed all play a role in disease spread. And while there is no specific treatment for EHV-1, a sick horse will probably get intravenous fluids, anti-inflammatory drugs, and other appropriate supportive treatment. Prognosis depends on severity of signs and the period of recumbency. In other words, recovery is not likely.
There are many shows this summer. Missing a show is a bummer, but being a responsible horse owner in our equestrian community means doing what's best for the whole herd, not just our own ponies. Which brings up the whole de-worming situation, but I'll save that for another post.
If you want to read more about the California Department of Food and Agriculture's recommendations, click here.