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Fatal horse disease outbreak prompts cancellations

The outbreak of a fatal horse disease has prompted the cancellation and postponement of horse shows throughout the West, including one scheduled this week in Greeley. And the state began requiring permits for any horses being brought into Colorado because of the outbreak.

The eighth annual Bill Perusek Memorial Roping scheduled for Saturday at The Barn at Montera’s north of Greeley, has been postponed until June 11 due to an outbreak of equine herpesvirus, more commonly called EHV-1.

“It is important to protect everyone’s horses,” Barb Perusek said Tuesday. The roping event has been conducted in memory of her late husband, a brand inspector in Greeley for a number of years.

Infected animals usually get sick between two and 14 days after they are exposed, and the disease can be fatal if not treated early. Symptoms include fever, sneezing, staggering and partial paralysis. The disease poses no threat to humans.

The Colorado Department of Agriculture developed new regulations Tuesday for horses coming into the state and outbreaks of the disease have been reported in at least four states as well as in western Canada. The outbreak has been traced to a cutting horse show in Ogden, Utah, April 29-May 8. About 500 horses were at that show.

Weld County leads the state in the number of horses on farm, according to the Colorado office of USDA’s Agricultural Statistics Service with 10,651. That does not include horses that are boarded, said Bill Meyer, who heads the state office.

State veterinarians in Idaho and Utah have said at least nine horses in Colorado, Idaho, California and Utah as well as Canada have been infected. Veterinarians in several other states are being notified that animals in their states could also be infected, according to The Associated Press.

The state agriculture department announced Tuesday it has implemented new travel regulations for horses coming into the state. Standard requirements for horses coming into the state include a health issued certificate within 30 days of their arrival and a negative test within 12 months that is used to detect any disease such as EVH-1. The new requirement is that horse owners must have a permit to enter the state.


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