Horse Industry Keeping Eye on Equine Herpes Virus-1

A deadly strain of horse herpes has created quite a scare in the horse community.

11 horses have died from the disease nationwide.

News 3 talked to a Texas A&M Vet School doctor about this virus strain as well as a local horse owner to learn more about the problem.

Beth Bass spends a good amount of time taking care of her 17 horses at Capstone Ranch.

She shows horses and is also a coach for the Texas A&M Equestrian Team.

One thing she's been keeping an eye out for is a disease called Equine Herpes Virus-1 which was discovered at a horse show in Utah last month.

"We have our big shows coming up this summer so we just canceled one or two weekend events stayed home, tried to be a little bit safe but it didn't have a great impact on me. However other people in the industry it's had a tremendous impact on their financial situations within the horse industry," said Beth Bass.

While no cases of the virus have been reported in the Brazos Valley fortunately, it has created a scare throughout the region.

Leslie Easterwood is a Clinical Assistant Professor and Veterinarian at the Texas A&M Large Animal Clinic.

"We had one confirmed case from a horse that had been at the Utah show and that horse was originally from New Mexico. He came back to Texas sought treatment at a Texas clinic and then returned to New Mexico," said Leslie Easterwood, D.V.M.

There's currently no vaccine for this neurologic strain of the virus, which can cause high fever, sneezing, partial paralysis and even death.

"They can be spread horse to horse either through droplets very similarly to the flu virus but they can also be spread on our hands on nose to nose contact of horses it can be spread on common water buckets, common feed buckets," said Easterwood.

"It is a very serious disease for the horse industry and it's not a death sentence by any means if you catch it early enough there's some good treatments," said Beth Bass.

A disease that while dangerous to horses, poses no threat to humans.

Dr. Easterwood tells us she believes this recent outbreak has just about run its course.


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