Equine Herpes Outbreak Hits Some Western States

There has been an equine herpes outbreak in at six states in the western part of the United States. This outbreak has forced cancellations of many horse events. This outbreak is really hitting at a bad time as the season for sales, rodeos, and riding shows is getting ready to start. The Washington State University has quarantined their hospital for veterinary teaching. In Colorado two equestrian jumping and reining clinic has been cancelled.

If the outbreak continues and there are no horse sales and other horse shows lose a whole season, it could destroy people financially. This is a very contagious disease and is spread by secretions from the nasal secretions. When horses greet each other, it is nose-to-nose so equine herpes can spread very quickly among the horses. Equine Herpes is usually fatal to a horse.
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Although humans cannot be infected, they can infect horses by transmitting the virus through contaminated clothing and tack. The symptoms of equine herpes include weakness in the hind leg, nasal discharge, fever, and decreased coordination. The horses that are severely infected are euthanized.

As of this date there have been two horses in Colorado that had equine herpes and were euthanized. There are six others that are displaying equine herpes signs. In California, there have been ten horses found to have equine herpes. One of the horses was euthanized. The other four other states are Washington, Utah, Idaho, and Arizona.

Equine Herpes Virus

Equine herpes is a term that refers to any one of several highly contagious diseases in horses, which may occur as a result of infection by either of two 



A. Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) is a contagious viral disease of horses that can cause respiratory disease, abortion and occasionally neurologic disease. 

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USDA – APHIS – Animal Health Surveillance & Monitoring – Equine …

equine herpes virus – information regarding the November 2006 shipment of infected animals from Germany and resulting equine cases in the United States.