Special to the Enterprise
A horse participating in the Horse Shows in the Sun (HITS), horse show in Ocala was referred to the University of Florida, College of Veterinary Medicine after showing clinical neurological signs on Feb. 20. The horse subsequently tested positive for the Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1), wild -type strain.
Since this original report, five additional horses that are linked to the HITS Show in Ocala and one horse that has not been linked have tested positive for the EHV-1 wild -type.
The Division of Animal Industry is conducting a disease investigation, which includes the HITS show grounds in Ocala and twelve other Florida locations. Currently, both the index farm and Tent 7 at HITS are under state quarantine as well as ten other sites. HITS management, trainers and veterinarians are cooperating fully to ensure proper safeguards are taken to prevent further spread of the disease.
Due to an increase in positive cases found, the Georgia Department of Agriculture recommends that all horses that attended the HITS show should not attend any additional shows for the next 21 days. The Georgia Department of Agriculture also recommends that all horses that attend the show be isolated and monitored twice daily for fever and clinical signs of this disease. Any horses that have been in contact with a horse that attended the HITS show should be included in the isolation. If there is evidence of fever or illness, a veterinarian should be consulted as soon as possible. Anyone that was in attendance at this event should insure that adequate bio-security is maintained so that this potentially deadly viral disease is not transported back to Georgia.
The Georgia State Veterinarian’s office will continue to monitor this event closely and keep our Georgia equine industry informed.
The Georgia Department of Agriculture is asking all those in the equine community to report any suspected cases of EHV-1. For reporting, you may call the Georgia Department of Agriculture at 404-656-3671 or 404-656-3667.