Confirmed cases of EHV-1 have been seen in horses at the Double W boarding stable in Gurnee, Ill this past week. Two horses have already been put down, and at least a half-dozen more have shown symptoms of the disease. Dr. Mark Ernst, the Illinois state vet, has quarantined the stable. Many area barns have restricted travel or canceled shows. Two horses from Double W attended a clinic in Bristol, WI at Sunflower Farms on Feb. 17th, weeks before the outbreak. At this time they have tested negative for the virus, and are still symptom-free.
EHV is one of those scary diseases that we just don't know enough about. The disease's full name name is Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy, and it can be quite deadly... and that's about all we know. It has mysteriously skipped around the country in the last ten years, appearing in California, Utah, Ohio and most recently, Florida, where many barns are currently under quarantine. There are at least two strains of the virus that do different things to horses, and present different signs. Respiratory and neurological problems may start. Infected horses can lose control of their rear ends. Pregnant mares may spontaneously abort their foals. Some horses only develop a fever. Some horses show no signs at all, but live out their lives as carriers. In fact, EHV may have already infected most adult horses, lying dormant for years in a horse population before rearing its ugly head. No one knows how or why the virus becomes active. Although some vets will try to sell you a vaccine, experts at UC Davis say there is NO effective vaccine.
We do know that EHV is spread like a cold, through germ-covered hands, feed buckets, touching noses and tack, and briefly through the air when a horse sneezes. We also know that it tends to affect older, younger and already sick horses first. Therefore, the two best things you can do to protect your horse are the two most commonsense things in the world: vaccinate/worm/treat your horse for all the normal stuff, to keep him as disease-resistant as possible, and wash your hands after petting other horses, before you pet your own! Read more here about preventing EHV in your stable. Read more about EHV here and here.
Well, that was fucking depressing.
Why not watch this pony do the moonwalk before we move on to more news? Go ahead, I promise you'll smile. You can also see ponies do the Harlem Shake here.
There. Next up...
Some dick kid set a fire in the barn of Midnite Sun Training Center in Burton, MI at the end of February. Rumor has it the teen lived on the property, and let his own three horses out of the barn before setting the fire, killing ten other horses. He may also have been responsible for another (more minor) barn fire in the area two weeks previously. The teen has been charged with two counts of felony arson and 10 counts of animal cruelty. They're not releasing his name because he's under 18.
Speaking of people who deserve flogging, Velva Jean Wainscott, also of MI, is once again getting her horses handed back to her after they were seized due to neglect. Wainscott has a long history of neglecting her critters, but seems to think she is being persecuted by hyper-vigilant animal control officers. Because, ya know, AC has just such a huge reputation for being overzealous, and leaving a horse to walk around on a broken leg is juuuuust fine. Bitch.
Let's end on a positive note with another fun video. If you haven't seen it yet, this gorgeous Michigan mare is a regular Houdini, cleverly breaking out of her stall, and freeing other horses too!