Nevada cautions horse owners after reports of EHV-4, strangles

Nevada horse owners are being urged not to travel with their animals by the state's veterinarian following a recent outbreak of equine disease.

The Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA) received reports Feb. 18 of horses that had contracted equine herpes virus type 4 (EHV-4) and Streptococcus equi bacterial infection, commonly known as strangles or equine distemper, a release posted on the Nevada Farm Bureau Federation website said.

The two upper respiratory diseases can lead to lifelong illnesses in horses, and the effects of the disease may not be visible immediately. Following a recommendation from the state's veterinarian, Dr. JJ Goicoechea, high school rodeo events were postponed in an attempt to curb the spread of the sickness.

“Horses that were exposed ... may not exhibit clinical signs for several weeks, and we run the risk of exposing additional horses at the rodeo this weekend,” Goicoechea said in a NDA release. “We may be issuing quarantine orders once confirmed. Our primary focus is stopping the spread and protecting our equine population.”

State laws require that any animal owner or practicing veterinarian aware of a horse that has contracted strangles report the illness to the state quarantine officer. NDA Director Jim Barbee, who serves in that position is leading the NDA in working with local veterinarians as well as equine industry association leaders to minimize exposure and slow the spread of the highly contagious disease, the release said.

“All horse owners should consult with their veterinarian to ensure vaccinations are current,” Goicoechea said. “If you suspect your horse may be exhibiting signs of illness, contact your veterinarian and do not allow contact with other horses.”

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Nevada Farm Bureau

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