Wisconsin Disease Alert in Multiple Counties

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture has reported multiple counties with infectious/contagious equine diseases in February, March and April of 2022.

Wisconsin county map equine disease early 2022
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture has reported multiple counties with infectious/contagious equine diseases in February, March and April of 2022. iStock photos

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture has reported multiple counties with infectious/contagious equine diseases in February, March and April of 2022.

Strangles

Five different counties in Wisconsin reported confirmed cases of equine strangles in February, March and April.

In Dane County, a 17-year-old pony tested positive on PCR for strangles and EHV-4. The sample was taken on March 25. The pony was still positive for equine strangles when sampled on April 27. The pony presented with a fever of 102.5, an occasional cough, and mild nasal and ocular discharge. The pony had just been purchased prior to the diagnosis and is the only equine on the premises. A voluntary quarantine in in place.

Also in Dane County, an 18-year-old Morgan gelding tested positive on qPCR for equine strangles and Strep. zoo. The sample was received at the laboratory on April 4. The gelding was at a large boarding facility with a history of equine strangles. He has been moved and isolated on an adjacent premises.

In Green County, a 2-year-old stallion tested positive on PCR for strangles and EHV-4. The sample was taken March 15, the day the symptoms began. He was febrile with a nasal discharge and was mildly lethargic and slightly off feed. No cough was noted. There are two other horses on the premises. One was a recently acquired “rescue” horse. There is a voluntary quarantine in place.

In Pierce County, a “rescued” Quarter Horse mare listed as about 15 years old was sampled on March 7, 2022, after showing respiratory signs. The mare was positive for equine strangles via PCR and culture. No other horses on the premises have clinical signs at the time of this report. The mare also tested positive for EHV-5. The facility is under a voluntary quarantine.

In Sheboygan County, a pony with guttural pouch empyema was sampled on March 1, 2022. The pony was confirmed positive for strangles via PCR and bacterial culture. Five other equines in group exhibited some nasal discharge. No recent history of travel or exposure was reported. The premises is under a voluntary quarantine.

In Washington County, a male Arab (it was not reported if it was a gelding or stallion) tested positive via PCR for strangles. Sample was taken 2/28/2022. He had no recent travel history, but was in a boarding facility with 30-40 other equines and where horses move in and out of the facility. Other horses in the facility have been treated with antibiotics for respiratory infections since December 2021. The Arab’s attending veterinarian is trying to work with other stable veterinarians and horse owners to implement a voluntary quarantine. This horse has been isolated from others.

For more information about equine strangles read this Fact Sheet.

Abortion Due to EHV-1

In Monroe County, a Standardbred mare aborted and the attending veterinarian collected samples on March 3 for testing. It was reported that several other mares in the community had also aborted. The fetal tissues/placenta were PCR positive for EHV-1. The mare had not been vaccinated against rhinopneumonitis. The attending veterinarian noted that the premises owner has now started vaccinating the herd.

Equine Influenza

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture reported equine influenza in Shawano, Grant and Sauk Counties.

In Shawano County: A 24-year-old Quarter Horse mare tested positive on a PCR test for equine influenza virus. She was also positive for Strep. zoo. The sample was collected on March 7. There are from 5-7 horses affected with respiratory symptoms at the boarding stable of approximately 40 horses. Affected horses are isolated, and the premises is under a voluntary quarantine. Some horses at the stable had traveled to shows and competitions. Vaccination status was unknown for the horses.

In Grant County, approximately 30 horses at a private farm were showing respiratory clinical signs. They were coughing and had a nasal discharge. Some were dyspneic with low-grade fevers. They were generally not off feed. They had no recent history of travel, and there had been no recent new additions to the herd or visiting horses. The attending veterinarian sampled two of the most severely affected horses on March 22, and they both were PCR positive for equine influenza A virus (H3N8). The horses were not vaccinated against equine influenza. There is a voluntary quarantine in place. At the time of this report the horses were improving.

In Sauk County, a 9-year-old Quarter Horse gelding was sampled on March 27, and he tested PCR positive for equine influenza virus (H3N8). The horse had been sick for a day with a high fever, lethargy, intermittent cough and nasal and ocular discharge. Four other equines on the premises were not showing clinical signs. The vaccination status was unknown for these horses. There is a voluntary quarantine in place. The gelding had recovered at the time of this report.

For more information on equine influenza read this Fact Sheet.

Information for this report was provided by the Equine Disease Communication Center.

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