First case of equine virus found in Wyoming

2011-06-22T23:45:00Z 2011-06-24T15:12:31Z First case of equine virus found in WyomingBy JOAN BARRON Casper Star-Tribune The Billings Gazette
June 22, 2011 11:45 pm  • 

CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- Wyoming's first confirmed case of equine herpes virus 1 has been found in a Johnson County horse, State Veterinarian Jim Logan said Wednesday.

The horse has been isolated from other horses on the premises and the location is under quarantine, Logan said in a media release.

Another horse from the same location was destroyed because of symptoms of the virus.

Diagnostic tests are pending, Logan said.

Meanwhile, officials at the Wyoming High School Rodeo Finals in Douglas canceled the jackpot events, said Dixie Huxtable, the state's national director. The finals kick off Thursday and conclude Sunday at the Wyoming State Fairgrounds.

"We canceled them just to keep the risks down," Huxtable said.

Jackpots are commonly held outside rodeos, allowing contestants and all-comers to compete for cash in such events as team roping. The elimination of the jackpot events will ensure the horses are those already brought in by the high school contestants, she said.

Huxtable said the rodeo offers a number of precautionary recommendations such as not allowing horses to share buckets of water.

Logan said there is little reason to cancel horse events or restrict movement of horses other than those under quarantine since this appears to be an isolated incident.

The Johnson County incident, he said, is not related to the Ogden, Utah, cutting horses event, which led to a multistate outbreak in May.

The disease is not uncommon or new and has been reported in Wyoming in the past, he said.

In addition to causing neurologic syndrome, the virus can lead to respiratory symptoms, weak foals, late-term abortion in pregnant mares and death.

Logan and the other veterinarians in the state office were at a meeting in Jackson on Wednesday afternoon and couldn't be contacted for further comment.

Dr. Dwayne Christensen, a Kaycee veterinarian, said he talked with Dr. Tom Berry, a Buffalo veterinarian, who reported the disease in the Johnson County horses.

He said the afflicted animals were not in a large group of horses and apparently were isolated.

Christensen said he doesn't expect a lot of cancellations of horse events unless there are more cases of the disease.

During the outbreak from the Ogden event, Laramie County Community College postponed its equine classes and prohibited horses from being brought to or taken from campus for two weeks as a precaution.

The Sweetwater County Events Complex also canceled some horse events shortly after the Ogden outbreak.

Candy Pendleton, the events coordinator, said people were concerned because Rock Springs is on Interstate 80, which connects with Utah.

"We ended up closing our facility for a little over a week and I went and disinfected all our surfaces -- panels and doors -- as a precautionary measure," she said.

She had not yet heard of the new case Wednesday.

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