State veterinarian Dr. Dennis Hughes has released the quarantine issued for Fonner Park in Nebraska, which held its racing season from Feb. 26 to May 7, after three confirmed cases of equine herpes myeloencephalopathy (EHM) were detected there last month.
"The horses at Fonner Park were quarantined for 21 days where they were monitored closely. During that time, no further cases were confirmed, so the quarantine has been lifted," said Dr. Hughes. "We continue to ask horse owners and facility managers to take precautions to prevent the spread of the disease by remaining vigilant and following strict biosecurity measures."
EHM is the neurological form of equine herpes virus (EHV-1), and cases of the disease have been confirmed in several locations around the country this year.
The disease is spread through direct or indirect contact with infected horses, so Dr. Hughes encourages review of biosecurity plans and that horses have minimal opportunity to have direct or indirect contact with each other.
Indirect contact includes the use of shared water and feed sources, as well as the use of shared equipment.
Biosecurity measures that should be taken include requiring individuals to wash their hands before and after contact with each horse, disinfecting boots and changing clothes that come into contact with horses from other barns.
EHM symptoms include fever, decreased coordination, nasal discharge, urine dribbling, loss of tail tone, hind limb weakness, leaning against a wall or fence to maintain balance, lethargy, and the inability to rise. While there is no cure, the symptoms of the disease may be treatable.