PRCA livestock health alert

Courtesy PRCA (

Courtesy PRCA (


The PRCA wants to alert our membership to a confirmed case of EHV-1 in Washington and confirmed cases of West Nile Virus in California, Idaho, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Minnesota in the last ten days.  Information can be found at the following locations:

Information about EHV-1 in Washington 
*** Further information obtained by the PRCA indicated that the horse was a Barrel Racing Horse used at junior rodeos in the Pacific North West.***
Information about WNV in California 
Information on WNV in Idaho 
Information on WNV in Nevada 
Information on WNV in Minnesota 
Current Information on Equine Disease Outbreaks Nationwide 
Keep open communication with your rodeo veterinarian and your State Animal Health Official.  Discuss preventative bio-security measures prior to your rodeo.  A sample bio-security plan can be found here. 
The PRCA urges horse owners to follow these steps for preventing the spread of livestock diseases such as Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1), and West Nile Virus (WNV)

  • Contact your veterinarian to ensure your horses are up to date on their vaccinations.
  • Do not share water buckets, hay nets or any other feeding/drinking equipment. 
  • Do not submerge the water hose in your bucket when filling the bucket. 
  • Do not share tack including halters, head stalls, bits, brushes, etc. 
  • Avoid nose to nose contact with your horse and others. 
  • Do not tie your horse to fences and rails where other horses are tied. 
  • Take your horse's temperature in the morning and at night.  If you horse is running a temperature above 102˚F, contact a veterinarian immediately. 
  • Use fly spray, mosquito repellent and other practices to reduce exposure to mosquitos and biting flies. 
  • Clean and disinfect trailers, stabling, barns, and other equine contact surfaces thoroughly. (It is important to remember that organic materials decrease the effectiveness of the disinfectant. All organic materials should be removed prior to disinfection) 


Contact information for State Animal Health Officials
What is EHV-1? 
Equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy (EHM) is another name for the neurologic disease associated with equine herpesvirus (EHV) infections. Neurological signs appear as a result of damage to blood vessels in the brain and spinal cord associated with EHV infection. Interference with the blood supply leads to tissue damage and a subsequent loss in normal function of areas in the brain and spinal cord.
The most common way for EHV-1 to spread is by direct horse-to-horse contact. This virus is shed from infected horses via the respiratory tract or through direct or indirect contact with an infected aborted fetus and fetal membranes. Horses may appear to be perfectly healthy yet spread the virus via the secretions from their nostrils.
It is important to realize that EHV-1 can also be spread indirectly through contact with physical objects contaminated with infectious virus. 

What is West Nile Virus? 
West Nile Virus (WNV) is a mosquito-borne virus first detected in the United States (U.S.) in the New York City area in 1999. Since 1999, the virus has spread throughout the U.S. and Canada, infecting birds, humans, horses, and other animals. As of 2015, more than 27,000 horses in the U.S. have been infected since the disease was first identified. The virus is maintained in the wild bird population and is spread between birds by mosquitos. Birds are considered the natural reservoir for WNV since high levels of virus circulate in their bloodstream. Mosquitos acquire WNV in blood meals from infected birds and pass it on to other birds, animals, and people. Mosquitos that feed on an infected horse or human have not demonstrated the ability to ingest enough of the virus to transmit it to other animals or humans; therefore, horses and humans are considered "dead end hosts."
Clinical Signs 
West Nile Virus may cause a wide range of clinical illness ranging from mild" flu-like" signs to encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) that may be fatal to both humans and horses. While horses are susceptible to WNV infection, many infected horses do not develop clinical illness and recover uneventfully.

Please contact me with any questions or concerns.

Jed Pugsley
PRCA Livestock Program Administrator 
719-246-9654 (Cell)
719-538-4782 (Office)