In light of the numerous calls we've received over the last several days regarding the Equine Herpesvirus type-1 neurotropic outbreak at Gold Creek Equestrian in Woodinville, WA, we wanted to provide some additional basic information and our recommendations for the local horse community.
Where did the horses at Gold Creek get the virus? The source of the outbreak remains unknown at this time. It is possible that this outbreak could have been initiated by the recrudescence of a dormant form of the virus in one of the horses in the barn or it could have been brought into the facility, either via a new or visiting horse, or by a person, vehicle, or equipment that was contaminated with the virus.
Is my horse at risk?
There is minimal to no risk to horses at local barns specifically from the Gold Creek Equestrian Facility horses, as they are under strict state mandated quarantine at this time. No horses are allowed to move on or off the property and the facility is practicing very strict biosecurity protocol to minimize the risk to other horses on the property. Currently there are no reports of positive EHV-1 horses in our area, outside of those at Gold Creek Equestrian.
How long would it take to know if my horse is affected by the virus?
The incubation period for the EHV-1 is up to 14 days. A 2 week quarantine or ‘closed door policy’ at local boarding facilities would be prudent.
Unfortunately, EHV-1 is widespread in the horse population and can be present without causing illness, laying dormant until the horse is stressed and the virus emerges, shedding in nasal secretions and spreading to other horses. Some horses will not show signs of illness, or may have mild symptoms, but can be shedding the virus. This is why a minimum of 14 days of quarantine for new horses is strongly suggested at all times, and good biosecurity should always be practiced (see below).
Is it safe to travel with my horse right now to area events?
We recommend keeping horse travel to a minimum at this time.
How can I minimize the chances of spreading a virus to my horse?
If you enter a different barn or come into contact with other horses, it is prudent to change clothes and wash shoes and hands prior to returning to your own facility. Viruses can be transmitted on fomites such as clothing, shoes, hoses, grooming materials, tack, car tires, etc.
How can I prevent an outbreak like this at my barn?
Good biosecurity measures should always be followed, including:
A 30 day quarantine away from other horses whenever a new horse enters the facility.
Twice daily rectal temperature tracking. Contact your veterinarian if temperatures of 102 degrees Fahrenheit or greater are found.
Limit direct horse-to-horse contact.
Don’t share equipment between horses, including the use of communal water troughs.
Do not dip the end of the hose in the water buckets.
Use footwear disinfectant and hand sanitizer when moving between areas and between horses.
Constantly monitor for any signs of respiratory disease – nasal discharge, coughing, fever, lethargy, etc.
Keep an eye on our Facebook page for updates as we closely monitor this outbreak.
Don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions! 253-535-6999 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For additional biosecurity tips: Biosecurity Basics
For more in-depth information on the neurological form of EHV-1: UC Davis, Awakening the Dormant Dragon: Neurological Form of Equine Herpesvirus-1
Tips from the WA State Department of Agriculture: WSDA: Tips for horse owners - protecting your horse from equine herpesvirus