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A highly contagious and often fatal disease in horses is having
its effect locally.
Equine competitions and events that put horses together are
being cancelled in the wake of reports from two boarding facilities
in western San Mateo County of the neurotropic form of equine
herpes virus.
A highly contagious and often fatal disease in horses is having its effect locally.

Equine competitions and events that put horses together are being cancelled in the wake of reports from two boarding facilities in western San Mateo County of the neurotropic form of equine herpes virus.

Four horses in the Montara area have been diagnosed with the disease and euthanized.

The virus can spread without direct contact among horses, according to Dr. Wayne Browning of Bayhill Equine, the only practice that has treated horses involved in the outbreak.

Symptoms include an unsteady gait or difficulty standing as well as fever.

“I originally saw a 4-year-old filly on Monday morning, March 11, that was unable to stand and had a history of fever five days earlier,” Browning said. “Another horse in the same paddock was also showing signs of ataxia [incoordination].”

In addition to monitoring their animals, local horse owners should contact their regular veterinarians if they suspect infection.

Three stables in the Montara area are currently under voluntary quarantine in an attempt to contain the disease.

Humans are at no risk of contracting equine herpes, but horses are highly susceptible. The disease can be spread by sharing infected equipment or even through the air.

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