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A Weber County Horse Tested Positive For Horse Herpes, Officials Aim To Stop Viral Spreading

No one is certain how the virus was contracted, but some believe it could have been caught or spred at some barrel racing events earlier this month.

After going to a couple barrel racing events at the beginning of the month, a Weber County horse came down with horse herpes. It has been confirmed by Utah Department of Agriculture and Food as Utah’s first Herpesvirus- 1 case. 

Although it is unsure whether or not the virus was caught at the event, other contenders have been told to keep an eye on their horses for symptoms.

Neurologic Herpesvirus is not spread through any sexual contact. Doug Perry with the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food says it’s spread through food and water buckets.  

“So, it's sort of a proximity disease and one in which owners have to be cautious of when they have horse-to-horse contact in some of these events and even in their own facilities," he said. 

Symptoms of the horse herpes virus include fever, decreased coordination, urine dribbling, loss of tail tone, hind-limb weakness, leaning against objects to find balance, lethargy and inability to rise.  If your horse has any of these symptoms, it should be quarantined immediately and your vet should be contacted.

“So just to be cautious to watch for signs of HV-1, especially if you know that your horse was in a competition or some sort of similar arena where one horse that was confirmed and diagnosed was having that," Perry said. "Pay extra attention to that, to make sure their horse is receiving the care and attention that they need when something like this happens.”

Currently there is no treatment for this virus but providing supportive care can help aid the recovery.  The vaccinations available for this virus do not protect from the neurologic form of the disease, only the abortion and respiratory forms.