TUCSON - Isolate, vaccinate and biosecurity: Three vital components recommended by a University of Arizona equine specialist, in light of a herpes outbreak in northern Maricopa County.
"The equine herpes virus has been around for years and years but sometimes if a horse does get that infection, even after its become healthy again, it can still carry the virus and then if that horse gets under stress or something else affects it, it can actually start shedding and kind of reignite a contagious type of situation," said Betsy Greene, equine specialist with the UA Cooperative Extension.
The Arizona Department of Agriculture confirmed a case of equine herpes discovered in a horse training facility on Friday, March 2. In response, the facility has been quarantined.
Eighteen other states have been notified regarding the equine herpes outbreak.
The impacted horse had competed in events in Las Vegas and Queen Creek, Arizona.
Symptoms of equine herpes include a fever, nasal discharge and a host of neurological issues.
"They have trouble walking, or they can't stand even, they'll have some paralysis and it can actually even be deadly as well," Greene said.
Greene stressed there are ways to protect horses from contracting the virus.
"Isolate, vaccinate, practice proper bio-security. Those are things that can really help you decrease your chances for your horse becoming infected," she said.
Jean Tremeghick, who's run Gentleman's Acres for over 50 years, noted she's never taken in herpes-infected horses.
"It is a problem but I personally as far as my stable is going, I'd vet the horse before it came and if it had that problem I would probably say no," Tremeghick said. "My horses are almost all healthy. Thank the lord."
Tremeghick goes through a thorough vetting process when it comes to accepting horses as part of her stable.
"Generally it's not a problem with their health, it's their attitude. If you love horses, you're going to be here forever."
Additional tips on how to keep your horse safe: https://extension.arizona.edu/tips-keeping-your-horse-safe-healthy