As many of you may have heard or may be experiencing in your area. In Alberta we are dealing with a case of "Neurologic Rhino" or EHV1 or Equine Herpes Virus. The "outbreak" started at a cutting show in Utah where several Alberta horses were present. They have no identified horses in Alberta & British Columbia that have tested positive for it and are under quarantine. I believe there is only ONE case in Alberta and TWO in BC.
Everyone is absolutely panic'ing about it and to be honest I'm a little fed up with all of the misinformation and half truths being spread around. A lot of people aren't really READING the information that's being put out, they're finding the worst case scenario tid bits and using to them to create mass hysteria.
After muddling through the information, here is what I know. EHV1 is normally a flu virus that presents itself as a runny nose/cough/fever. The vaccine prevents the respiratory version. However, in some horses the EHV1 is mutating and causing neurologic symptoms which *can* result in death. The vaccine doesn't protect against the neurologic strain.
A lot of people are peddling this virus as a guaranteed death sentance for horses if they get it, which is completely untrue. If you horse comes into contact with a horse that has EHV1, there is no guarantee that your horse will even get it in the first place. In the second place, if they do contract EHV1, there is no guarantee that it will mutate and cause neurologic symptoms. In the third place, if they *DO* get the neurologic symptoms, they can recover.
If your horse is not at a cutting or reining horse barn, you probably don't need to worry at all. I would say that if your horse is healthy and doesn't have a compromised immune system and has their regular vaccinations, you likely have even less to worry about.
Personally, I think the reason this disease is apparently so rampant & voracious is because a) It was at a national show with HUNDREDS of horses from across the continent and b) a lot of these horses are kept indoors 24/7/365, which IMHO is VERY unhealthy and can lead to a cough/COPD (ie compromised immune systems) from the ammonia build up in stuffy barns and are in heavy training so their bodies are stressed.
Some common sense will keep you safe. Stay at home if you are really worried. If you still want to show, have a look at the calendar before you go and see what other events the facility has held...anything with reiners or cutters, you may want to steer clear of for awhile. Take your own buckets, don't stable there if you don't have to and tie to your trailer vs. a common hitching rail. Don't hang out in between classes with other people/horses, take your's back to your trailer while you wait.
Thus far there are a LOT of barns here that are self quarantining for the next 3 weeks and a lot of shows are being cancelled or postponed. I say KUDOS to the barns/show officials for taking that precaution and having their priorities straight and trying to do their part to prevent the spread. Personally, I don't know what a 3 week quarantine will do, it doesn't seem like enough to really stop the "outbreak".
So I guess I may not get as much showing in as I had wanted to this summer, time will tell. I'm not too hurt about it because my pocket book will be happy! At the moment everyone is still unsure of the situation just yet, we will see what happens over the coming weeks. Perhaps Brigit will get kicked out for the summer at a friend's place to enjoy some grass again and I will spend more time in my garden. Either way, it will still be a good summer!