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SHERIDAN, Wyo. (AP) – The Sheridan County Fairgrounds are off-limits to horses for the next 18 days after one horse stabled on the grounds was diagnosed with an illness that has paralyzed animals in a Johnson County herd.

The Sheridan County Fair this week will go on as scheduled, but all horse events have been canceled this year, according to Patty Hruza with the fairgrounds office.

The Sheridan County Rodeo, which was to be Aug. 10-12, also has been postponed until further notice because the scheduled dates fall within the quarantine period, Hruza said.

The respiratory form of equine herpes virus type 1 was confirmed Saturday morning in a horse stabled routinely on the fairgrounds, according to Tammy Gorzalka in the office of Sheridan veterinarian Lance Moxey.

Gorzalka said the one horse that has been positively diagnosed with the virus was tested Thursday, and the results came back Saturday morning.

She said the clinic is awaiting results on two other horses tested.

She said the horses seen at the fairgrounds appear to have the respiratory form of the virus, not the paralytic form diagnosed earlier this month in more than 40 horses at the Paradise Ranch in Johnson County.

State Veterinarian Jim Logan said the respiratory form is self-limiting.

“Ordinarily they recover within a few days,” he said.

He said he has not seen any cases of the virus in which the respiratory form leads into the paralytic form of the virus.

The virus, which does not affect people, affects horses in three different forms and is highly contagious among horses in all three.

The respiratory form attacks the respiratory tract. Another form causes mares to abort. A neurological form paralyzes the animals.

Seven of the horses in Johnson County killed because of the severity of the disease.

The outbreak in Johnson County was detected early this month after two horses from the ranch itself were brought to Wilson Animal Hospital in Sheridan.

Dr. John Wilson has voluntarily placed his clinic under quarantine and will not consider treating any horses until at least the first of August, according to Sandy Rodewald, who works for the clinic.

Rodewald said the quarantine only applies to horses, since the virus does not affect other animals.

Veterinarians including Logan have said the virus is endemic nationwide, although the neurological form is seen less often in Wyoming than the other two forms of the disease.

Rosie Berger, among those planning next month’s Polo Ranch Cutting Classic in Big Horn, said there are no plans at this time to cancel that event.

“We are making calls to vets and taking all precautions,” she said. “We are making sure the ranch’s horses aren’t coming into contact with any other horses.”

“We are cognizant of what’s going on, and we are concerned,” she said.

All those who enter the competition are required to provide certification that their horses are current on vaccinations and other health requirements.

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