From Iceland — Horse Owners Warned Of A Serious Disease

Horse Owners Warned Of A Serious Disease

Published March 10, 2021

Photo by
Natsha Nandabhiwat

A serious infectious disease caused by the equine herpes virus occurred in February at a major equestrian event held in Valencia, RÚV reports.

Horse owners in Iceland are being reminded of the strict rules around horses in order to keep the species safe from the disease.

The virus does not effect humans but can cause encephalitis and paralysis in horses, so Icelandic owners are advised to follow the strict rules regarding disease control.

The virus is one that effects horses for life and can be spread by humans, on clothes and on equipment. As with most diseases, it is highly contagious if many horses are kept in close proximity.

No horsing around.

MAST, the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority, has reminded all Icelandic horse owners that used horse products from other countries is still prohibited.

You must also not bring used riding gloves with you to the country, riding clothes must be washed and dried before entering the country, as well as soap, riding shoes and helmets, dried and sprayed with disinfectant.

The first symptoms of the disease are fever and cold. The virus enters the bloodstream with leukocytes and, in the most severe cases, from the central nervous system, brain and spinal cord.

The animals then become unstable, first on the hind legs, until they are paralyzed and lie down.

Must take special care as to not spread the virus.

The International Federation of Horses (FEI) confirms that eight horses were killed by the virus in Spain and two in Germany.

It is estimated that about 1,500 horses from the tournament in Valencia are traveling around Europe on their way home.

All the horses need to be checked and studied carefully as to not spread the virus around the continent because it is difficult to obtain a complete overview of where the infection is spreading.

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