California EHV-1 outbreak: seventh horse put down, as Nations Cup leg cancelled

  • Another horse has been put down during the ongoing California equine herpes virus (EHV-1) outbreak, bringing the number of fatalities to seven.

    To date, eight counties in California have confirmed EHV-1 cases – four of these reporting the neurological form of the virus.

    In the latest update from the California Department of Food & Agriculture (9 March) it was confirmed a 15-year-old gelding in San Mateo, who had a confirmed case of neurological EHV-1, was put down owing to the severity of his clinical signs. Another horse at the same site has tested positive for EHV-1, but is not showing neurological signs at present. CFDA is on site at the premises and 52 horses who have been exposed to the virus have been quarantined.

    Seven horses have now died during the outbreak. Further EHV-1 positives, including some neurological cases, have been confirmed at two premises in Orange County, but no further cases have been reported at the affected facilities in Los Angeles County, Alameda County, Riverside County. In an update yesterday a spokesman from Desert International Horse Park in Thermal, where daily testing has been taking place, said three of its barns had been released from quarantine.

    On 6 March BlenheimEquiSports announced that the San Juan Capistrano leg of the showjumping Nations Cup (10-15 May) was cancelled, in a decision supported by US Equestrian (USEF) and the FEI. The decision follows the California state vet recommending that all hunter/jumper events were postponed for 28 days, and all other equine events and non-essential horse movement was postponed for 14 days.

    “The safety and welfare of our members and their horses is our top priority and most important responsibility, and while we are disappointed for the BlenheimEquiSports management team and all of the athletes, we are fully supportive of this decision while the mitigation and containment efforts for EHV-1 are still ongoing in California,” said USEF chief executive Bill Moroney.

    “We are thankful to the FEI for their understanding and continued alignment with us given the circumstances we’ve faced on the West Coast this season.”

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