Veterinarians Warn Horse Owners of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1)

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Reports say a rare virus is infecting horses across the country. Now Nebraska veterinarians are warning owners to be on the lookout.

Nebraska State Veterinarian Dr. Dennis Hughes is raising awareness amongst horse owners of the Equine Herpes Virus after two horses in nearby states were found to have the virus. Two horses that were recently in Nebraska.

There is no cure for this virus, and if it's not caught early the horse usually needs to be put down.

So Dr. Jay Steward of the Grand Island Veterinary Hospital said there are symptoms to look for.

"Increased nasal secretion and tearing eyes. These horses often run a fever and they stop eating or slow down their appetite. In severe cases they may stumble and have difficulty walking or may even have a difficult time standing up," said Dr. Stewart.

But Dr. Stewart said in order to prevent the virus there are several steps you can take.

He said, "We start by recommending annual vaccination. In addition to that, some good sanitary conditions or policies are very important. This virus spreads through water droplet particles when they sneeze and cough, so keep them separated from other horses that are in the same area and don't share common receptacles like feed buckets or water buckets or things like that."

Dr. Stuart said while this virus is rare, it's also very serious, and if you have any questions, there are several resources you should consult. He said your veterinarian is the first place to go. You can also go to the American Association of Equine Practitioners website or the American Veterinary Medical Association website. Click the links to get to either of those sites or to the Press Release from the State Veterinarian.