A concerned horse owner contacted 3 On Your Side about a deadly outbreak of a common respiratory disease. The State Veterinarian's office tells us that the deadly EHV-1 strain of a respiratory equine disease has morphed into a very potent neurological sub strain.
The State Vet says three Mississippi horses have died and three became very sick after contracting the potent form of this disease. Trouble began after horses returned from the Bucksnort trail ride held in Tennessee April 23-30. Tennessee and Kentucky have reported cases of EHV-1 as well.
"Fortunately it seems like the outbreak has ended since last week there have been no new cases," said Dr. Jim Watson, with the Mississippi Board of Animal Health
EHV-1 mutates with sudden on-set neurological symptoms in the horses affected.
"It can range from a simply staggering gait to animals that dog sit and unfortunately can't get up and unfortunately to death as well," said Watson.
Equine Herpes Virus type 1 causes abortion in mares. All pregnant mares should be vaccinated at 3 to 5 and 7 months. The three surviving Mississippi horses remain isolated and under a veterinarian's care.
Horse owners are urged to take precautions especially at big equine events. Dr. Watson says never share feeding or grooming equipment.
There is no specific vaccine for this deadly strain of EHV-1, but vaccinating your horses may provide protection.
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