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Important: EHV-1 Update at Desert International Horse Park

by US Equestrian Communications Department | Feb 17, 2022, 10:52 PM EST

Lexington, Ky. –  The management team at Desert Circuit International Horse Park has worked closely with veterinarians at CDFA and USEF to proactively protect the health and safety of horses on the property adhering to all biosecurity protocols and staying in close communication with participants in response to the recent positive cases of EHV-1. 

As of the last update on Tuesday, five horses were in isolation, all from one barn where the initial case was located. All of these horses are doing well and are asymptomatic. Horses continue to be tested to determine when they are no longer shedding. The threshold for horses leaving isolation is two negative tests seven days apart. Thus far, one of the five horses has started its timeline for leaving isolation. At this time, the barn remains under quarantine with no additional horses reporting a fever.

One additional horse tested positive since the last update. This horse reported a fever last Friday and was tested the same day with a negative test result on Saturday. Another test was taken on Sunday. The horse tested positive for EHV-1 as of yesterday and was placed in isolation, though its fever had already returned to normal. The horse is doing well. The horse had been under tight biosecurity protocols since Friday. The exposed cohort in Barn 6 has been placed in quarantine in a new tent in a separate area of the horse park.

The strain of EHV-1 thus far has resulted in relatively mild symptoms, and horses are recovering quickly. Adherence to USEF's EHV-1 vaccination requirement has also very likely contributed to reduced severity of clinical signs.

For additional perspective, USEF Veterinarian, Stephen Schumacher said, “With EHV, it’s not a matter of ‘if’ but a matter of ‘when’. Most important is the identification and isolation of sick horses. USEF has been in constant contact with competition management at Desert International Horse Park and with CDFA during the current EHV situation.  We are very supportive of the efforts of competition management and of the veterinarians of the CDFA, and are encouraged by the steps being taken to mitigate the spread.”

The California Department of Food & Agriculture has published a biosecurity tool kit, which can be accessed here


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