Altoona Horse Barn is quarantined after the death of his horse from a highly contagious virus


ALTOONA, Iowa – The Iowa Department of Agriculture has confirmed the presence of a highly contagious virus in a hen house in Altoona.

The equine herpes virus or EHV-1 can be fatal for horses and can easily be transmitted from one horse to another by man or even by inanimate objects. It is not a threat to humans or other animals, but it can be deadly for horses.

At present, state veterinarians are quarantining to try to prevent an outbreak.

"That's why we're setting up quarantine," said veterinarian Jeff Kaisand. "[The facility] also monitors all horses twice daily for any other clinical signs. We would do the next steps if a horse shows clinical signs. We would test this horse and determine if this horse could also be affected. "

The horse was shipped to Pine Hollow Stables in Altoona. According to the official veterinarian, no other horse in the stable is infected from Monday afternoon, but quarantine remains necessary until they are certain that the virus is not spreading.

The owner of the horse, Heather Otis, explains that the infected horse, Rowdy, went from very good to almost dead in a few hours. She sent Channel 13 a video of Rowdy unable to get up. He finally had to be euthanized.

"He was never transported like this year, so it was not as if he had gone somewhere and contacted that," Otis said. "I do not want to point fingers, because I do not really have a finger to point to, but that will not bring him back."

According to Dr. Kaisand, it is important for all horse owners and the Altoona Barn to take precautions and use biosecurity to prevent an outbreak.

"It could come in many different ways," said Dr. Kaisand. "It could come from another horse or be there for a long time, but to be sure, we are cautious and this is not passed on to other horses. This is why we quarantine the facility, monitor the horses in case they have been exposed and may have clinical signs and show and expose other horses. "

There is a horse fair organized by the Iowa Horse Council scheduled this weekend at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. We spoke to President David Beary, who said the event was continuing after talking with Dr. Kaisand and other vets confirming that there was no increased risk for the moment. A horse was asked not to attend the event because it had been determined that he had been in contact with the infected horse.

Beary says it's the standard procedure for them to have a veterinarian on the horse fair grounds, and that will not change this weekend. In addition, as always, all horses that come to the fair must have health papers.

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