In response to concerns from residents and potential Mule Days contestants regarding recent reports of EHV-1 virus, Mule Days officials released this statement.
“The EHV-1 virus has the potential to be deadly to equines if it is left untreated or ignored.
According to the Department of Food and Agriculture, ‘The EHV-1 organism spreads quickly from horse to horse and the neurologic form of the virus can reach high morbidity and mortality rates.’
“The incubation period of EHV-1 is typically 2-10 days. In horses infected with the neurologic strain of EHV-1, clinical signs may include nasal discharge, incoordination, hind end weakness, recumbency, lethargy, urine dribbling and diminished tail tone.
“A rectal temperature in excess of 102F commonly precedes other clinical signs.
“‘We are urging owners to take temperatures on each individual horse(s) twice a day,’ the Department of Food and Agriculture press release states. ‘If a temperature above 102F is detected contact your private practitioner immediately. Laboratory submission of nasal swabs and blood samples collected from the exposed horse can be utilized for virus detection and isolation.’
“Currently there is no one specific treatment for EHV-1. Treatment may include intravenous fluids, anti-inflammatory drugs and other appropriate supportive treatment. Currently, there is no equine vaccine that has a label claim for protection against the neurological strain of the virus.
“Horse-to-horse contact, aerosol transmission as well as contaminated hands, equipment, tack and feed all play a role in disease spread. However, horses with severe clinical signs of neurological EHV-1 illness are thought to have large viral loads in their blood and nasal secretions and therefore, present the greatest danger for spreading the disease.
“‘Immediate separation and isolation of identified suspect cases and implementation of appropriate biosecurity measures are key elements for disease control,’ the Department of Food and Agriculture says.”