Heythrop suspends hunting over equine herpes outbreak

The Heythrop has suspended hunting for a week following an outbreak of equine herpes virus (EHV-1) in the local area.

Horse owners in the Moreton-in-Marsh area of Gloucestershire have been warned to watch out for signs of the virus — which include coughing, a raised temperature, dullness and the horse appearing wobbly. [More info about equine herpes]

Anyone who hunted with the Heythrop in the final week of January is advised to isolate their horse and call a vet if the infection is suspected.

Vet Tom Campbell of Bourton Vale Equine Clinic, who has been dealing with the outbreak, said it was confined to one yard where members of the Heythrop keep their horses.

Three horses have tested positive for the virus — two with the neurological version, which can lead to paralysis, one with the respiratory — and others are showing signs.

Horses on another hunting yard have also been tested but he said it was unlikely they have EHV-1.

“We have it well under control. We suspended hunting as a precaution but the Heythrop will be able to hunt again this weekend (9 February),” said Mr Campbell.

“It is running its course on the yard and the horses are responding well to treatment.

“The question now is where these horses caught it — we will know more by the middle of the week.”

EHV-1 brought hunting in part of the south-west to a halt last November.

Three horses were euthanased on racehorse trainer Victor Dartnall’s yard in North Devon.