Pa. horses test positive for Equine Herpevirus

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HARRISBURG, Pa. — Horses at Rolling Hills Ranch stable in Bridgeville, Allegheny County, have been quarantined after at least three horses tested positive for the neurologic form of Equine Herpesvirus, or EHV-1, according to Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff.

There is no threat to human health from EHV-1.

Severe effects

“Equine Herpesvirus causes upper respiratory infection and can cause severe neurological disease in horses,” said Wolff. “The quarantine was put in place to restrict the movement of horses from the stable and contain the virus.”

The quarantine covers the entire property, including five barns housing more than 100 horses. It will remain in effect until a period of 21 days has elapsed without relevant clinical signs in any horses.

At that point, all horses will be tested for EHV-1 and the quarantine will be released when all horses test negative.

Symptom recognition

The attending veterinarian at Rolling Hills Ranch recognized symptoms in several horses consistent with the neurologic form of EHV-1 and alerted the Bureau of Animal Health and Diagnostic Services July 19.

Symptoms of the neurologic form of EHV-1 include loss of coordination, weakness or paralysis of the hind limbs, and incontinence.

While other forms of EHV-1 occur commonly in horses, the neurologic form is considered a dangerous transmissible disease.

Presently, the bureau is testing and monitoring horses at Rolling Hills Ranch.

If you’re concerned

Horse owners who have boarded their animals at the facility since July 7 should contact their local veterinarian if the horse exhibits symptoms of the neurologic form of EHV-1.

Owners with further concerns may call the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Animal Health and Diagnostic Services at 717-772-2852.

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