Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) officials confirmed equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy (EHM), the neurologic disease linked to equine herpesvirus (EHV-1), in a Lubbock County barrel racing horse on May 9, 2018. The most recent previous case of EHM in Texas was confirmed in a Montgomery County horse.
The newly identified horse showed signs or respiratory illness, fever, nasal discharge and ataxia when evaluated by a local veterinarian. The premises is under movement restrictions and TAHC staff is working closely with the owner and veterinarian to monitor potentially exposed horses and implement biosecurity measures.
Prior to confirmation, both the Montgomery and Lubbock County positive EHM horses attended a barrel racing event at the Oklahoma City Fair Grounds on April 25-30. The Lubbock County horse did not travel to any other events.
TAHC is coordinating with Oklahoma Department of Agriculture staff, who contacted event management, participants and veterinarians to ensure enhanced surveillance and biosecurity measures are taken. The spread of EHV-1 usually occurs when horses congregate. Fortunately, the disease does not survive in the environment for an extended period of time and proper cleaning and disinfecting will remove the virus from any exposed facilities.
Further updates on Texas EHM cases will be posted on the Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) website at http://www.equinediseasecc.org/alerts/outbreaks.
Owners of horses potentially exposed are encouraged to take precautions. Exposed horses should be isolated and have their temperatures monitored twice daily for at least 14 days after last known exposure. If an exposed horse develops a fever or other signs consistent with EHM, diagnostic tests might be performed. Owners should work with their veterinary practitioners to establish appropriate monitoring and diagnostic plans for any potentially exposed horses.
For more information on biosecurity measures you can take to keep your horses healthy, visit http://www.tahc.texas.gov/news/brochures/TAHCBrochure_BiosecurityEquine.pdf.
For more information on EHM please visit http://www.tahc.texas.gov/news/brochures/TAHCBrochure_EquineHerpesMyeloencephalopathy.pdf.