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Warning To Horse Owners, Highly Contagious Disease Is Circulating

The Animal Health Board of Minnesota has called on all horse owners to do their part to help stop the spread of a highly contagious horse disease which has now been confirmed in neighbouring states, North and South Dakota.

Equine Herpesvirus Myeloencephalopathy also known as EHM is a highly contagious disease and potentially fatal. The last case of EHM, in Minnesota, was diagnosed back in 2015.

Equine programme manager, Dr. Courtney Wheeler, said: ‘Horses leaving their home farm to compete, breed or train can be exposed to a number of diseases including EHM.’

Minnesota has already reinforced rules and regulations to tackle the spread of the disease. ‘Owners and exhibitors entering Minnesota from other states are required to have a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection verifying their horse has been examined by a veterinarian and is free from signs of communicable and contagious diseases.’

The board has an official plan of action for EHM. If a horse is tested positively for the disease in Minnesota or has been exposed to it, they must be quarantined. The Board of Animal Health will then work with herd veterinarians and horse owners to carry out testing procedures in the control panel before the horse can be released from quarantine.   

Horse owners still willing to attend events must comply to thorough and routine practices to prevent further spread of EHM and all other diseases. Diseases can be spread through other horses, people, insects, trailers and equipment.

Minnesota Board of Animal Health urges horse owners to carry out the following checks when traveling with their horse.