Advice offered to horse owners on recent rhinovirus outbreak

Equine rhinovirus is a strain of herpes with similar symptoms as seen in humans ... a cold and fever

Dr. Gordon Laity offered an informative seminar May 21 on the rhinovirus that precipitated the cancellation of the 100 Mile House rodeos on May 21/22 and the parade on May 21. He said the virus originated with a cutting horse in Ogden, Utah and has spread quickly with infected horses traveling throughout North America.

Laity explained that the equine rhinovirus is a strain of herpes with similar symptoms as seen in humans … a cold and fever.

The disease can cause foal abortions as well as attack the spinal cord and cause neurological symptoms with mature horses (those over one year of age). There is no successful vaccine and affected horses usually recover on their own with isolated rest over a three-week period. Laity advised that all new horses should be isolated for a standard three-week period regardless of concerns for a particular disease. Isolation is good ranch management noted Laity.

If you suspect a horse to be infected, a temperature of 38.5+ should raise concerns. Dr. Laity said that if dehydration is an issue, fluids might be administered intravenously.

There is no risk to humans but the disease can be transmitted by humans on tack, equipment and hands. Laity suggests using soap and water and/or common disinfectants for equipment and ensuring you wash your hands frequently.

If you are traveling with your horses, Laity suggested you contact the show organizers to make sure the event has not been cancelled and to communicate which specific groups such at Cutting Horse Association, AQHA, etc. for further details.

– Submitted by Rural Crime Watch