Virus Concerns Horse Owners - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Virus Concerns Horse Owners

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Caring for livestock isn't easy, especially when things most harmful to them are unseen.
The airborne EHV1 virus has struck horses in Minnesota and North Dakota and local owners are worried.

The common thought is there's no need to panic. As long as the animal's vaccinations are up to date and exposure to unfamiliar horses is minimal, owners should be ok.

Stacy Jangula and Roany have been barrel racing together almost eight-years, and she says the threat of getting EHV1 is real.

"We definitely give him-want to make sure he is vaccinated when I go to school and when I bring him with me. Because there are so many other horses that you go and board with," says Jangula.

Vets say it's a herpes virus in horses. Although the disease can be transmitted through the air, many horses catch the disease through nose-to-nose contact and young horses are more at risk.

"There has been some confirmed cases in Burleigh county, but their horses weren't traveling a bunch," says Missouri Valley vet Russel Voigt. "It's just a normal herpes virus that goes through that farm where there're at. It is not a wide spread out break."

The virus usually appears in horses during the spring and fall seasons. Since there are several strains of the disease, signs of infection are numerous.

"If people are concerned when they're traveling to events. Just don't go or don't share water buckets with any other horses. Make sure your horse is properly vaccinated before traveling," says Missouri Valley vet Russel Voigt.

Stacy says the being vigilant is the best way to minimize the risk of infection.

"Just take care of them," says Jangula. "To make sure that they're safe, healthy and happy."

Vets agree that's good advice.

The typical sign for the EHV1 virus is an upper respiratory infection, and in more serious and rare cases it can cause abortions or neurological damage.

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