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Ada County horse tests positive for equine herpes virus

The illness forced high school rodeo organizers to cancel this weekend's rodeo events in Homedale.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

BOISE, Idaho — Idaho agriculture officials confirmed that a horse in Ada County has tested positive for an equine herpes virus.

The Idaho State Department of Agriculture say the horse traveled from Arizona to Idaho in February and then was transported to the Salty Dash Futurity in South Jordan, Utah, from March 15-17.

The horse is now under quarantine and receiving veterinary care at a private facility in the Treasure Valley.

The horse tested positive for a non-neuropathogenic strain of EHV-1, but still presented with neurologic symptoms.

The illness forced high school rodeo organizers to cancel upcoming rodeo events in Homedale.

Idaho High School Rodeo District 2 posted on Facebook that the rodeo events scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Badiola Arena in Homedale would be canceled. 

"We cannot reschedule at this time until we know what the quarantine time will be," the post continues. "We are planning to have our rodeo 2 weeks from now and we will reschedule this weekend as soon as possible."

EHV-1 can cause respiratory disease in young horses, abortions in pregnant mares and neurologic disease in older horses.

It can spread through contact with exposed animals, people, equipment and vehicles.

Symptoms frequently associated with EHV infection include a fever greater than 101.5 F, incoordination, hindquarter weakness, lethargy, incontinence and diminished tail tone.

The illness has an incubation period of two to 10 days, meaning an animal can be infected for nearly two weeks before it shows showing any symptoms. 

“We encourage owners to contact their veterinarian immediately if they observe any symptoms of illness in their horses,” said Dr. Bill Barton, ISDA State Veterinarian.

Anyone suspecting or confirming a case of EHV should call (208) 332-8560 to report cases.

Currently, there is no vaccine approved to protect again the neurologic disease associated with EHV-1. The virus does not affect humans.

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