Colorado horse tests positive for equine herpes

DENVER - A horse that competed on the Colorado rodeo and barrel racing circuit has tested positive for a virus that can cause breathing problems and nervous system disorders.

The state health department said Friday that the horse was euthanized after developing neurological problems because of the equine herpes virus. Another competitive horse from the same stable is sick.

State veterinarian Keith Roehr is warning the owners of other horses who competed in the same events to monitor their animals' health, including taking their temperature twice a day.

The horse who tested positive and its stablemates competed in National High School Rodeo and Colorado Junior Rodeo Association events in Henderson, Eagle and Rocky Ford in recent weeks.

The American Quarter Horse Association has documented several U.S. cases and outbreaks in the past year.

Two years ago, a horse at the Castlewood Equestrian Center in Franktown was euthanized after testing positive for equine herpes virus and showing severe neurological signs associated with the disease, officials said.

That horse came to Franktown from Iowa.

EHV-1 can be treated if caught early, but can lead to death in horses. It is not transmissible to people. The most common way for EHV-1 to spread is by direct horse-to-horse contact. The virus can also spread through the air, contaminated equipment, clothing and hands.

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