Oklahoma horse owners should take great relief that the EHV-1 outbreak has been contained. The entire horse industry should be commended for cooperative response in alleviating the disease threat. Due in part to the good communication between horse owners, facility and show managers, veterinarians and state health officials people were made aware of the situation and facilities were appropriately quarantined if necessary. One premise in Oklahoma is under quarantine from a confirmed EHV-1 positive horse that attended the Utah event. The horse is now normal and all remaining horses on the premise are healthy. No horses from this premise have attended an event in Oklahoma during the past few weeks and movement will be restricted until the situation is completely resolved.
Since the initial outbreak of EHV-1 at the National Cutting Horse Association’s Western Nationals Show in Ogden, UT from April 29- May 8, 2011, the disease has been contained to the greatest extent possible. The numbers available indicate that the spread of the virus has been contained. During the first week there were 86 suspect/confirmed new cases, the second week showed 62 suspect/confirmed new cases, the third week showed 10 suspect/confirmed new cases and the fourth week after the occurrence showed 0 new cases.
Horse owners should still be cognizant of the situation but also be aware of the facts regarding the virus. The EHV outbreak has only affected horses attending two events and horses directly exposed to that group upon returning home. The two events are the NCHA Western National Championship in Utah and the Kern County Cutting Horse Event in California. Affected and exposed horses in all states are under state quarantine or movement restrictions.
Acting State Veterinarian, Dr. Michael Herrin recommends horse owners and event managers remain at a heightened level of awareness, consider the current facts of the situation, and make an informed decision based upon actual risk. Events in Oklahoma that host horses of an unrelated type have no increased risk of disease exposure now than before this incident began. There have been no changes in import regulations and no recommended event cancellations issued by the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry (ODAFF).
The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry encourages horse owners to implement and practice proper preventative measures. ODAFF also encourages horse owners to consult their local veterinarian for review and advice on an appropriate vaccination schedules for EHV.