May 24, 2011

Test Results Negative for Equine Disease in Missouri

The Missouri Department of Agriculture has investigated the outbreak of an infectious virus affecting horses in several states, including Utah. Missouri does not have any confirmed or suspected cases of the infection at this time.

"We take animal health concerns very seriously and are following stringent biosecurity practices to protect Missouri's equine population," said Director of Agriculture Dr. Jon Hagler, a lifelong horseman. "Horse owners should not be concerned for the welfare of their animals, but we encourage them to continue vigilant monitoring of their stock for signs of any illness."

On May 16, Missouri's State Veterinarian was notified that three horses had returned to a Boone County farm after being exposed to Equine Herpesvirus Myeloencephalopathy during a show in Odgen, Utah. The horses were immediately isolated and placed under a veterinarian's care.

In additional, Missouri's State Veterinarian placed a hold order on the farm May 16, preventing animals at the facility from being transferred elsewhere.

Test results were negative for isolates of the EHV virus, and the horses showed no symptoms of infection.

Symptoms of EHV infection include: fever above 102 degrees, decreased coordination, nasal discharge, urine dribbling, loss of tail tone, hind limb weakness, loss of balance and lethargy.

EHV may affect horses, donkeys, llamas, mules and alpacas. It does not affect humans or cattle. However, humans may spread the virus on hands and clothing.

The approximately 30 horses on the property remain under close observation, including twice-daily temperature checks. None have shown symptoms of EHV infection.

Events, including horse shows, trail rides and other equine gatherings may proceed at the discretion of the group hosting the event. The Missouri Department of Agriculture recommends that organizers consider event details, including the number of participants from outside Missouri, when making decisions and that a licensed veterinarian inspect all equines upon their arrival to the event facility.

Owners with questions about the condition of their animals should contact their veterinarian or the Missouri Department of Agriculture's Division of Animal Health at (573) 751-3377.

For more information on the Missouri Department of Agriculture and its programs, visit