Horse owners concerned by deadly virus in Wake County

The state says the strain is rare and could be highly contagious among horses.
December 31, 2013 5:54:22 PM PST
A deadly virus in the equestrian community is causing great anguish for horse owners. So far, four animals have had to be put down after contracting the disease.

The state says the strain is rare and could be highly contagious among horses. The virus can be transmitted through shared buckets, saddles, grooming utensils, and also on people's shoes and clothes.

"It's devastating to think that you could potentially lose one of your best friends," said horse owner Kathi Stevens.

Stevens is worried about her horse Angel's health.

"What kind of chance or risk that you're taking by going anywhere, being around any horses," she said

Horses have been euthanized after being infected with a strain of EHV-1, which cause neurological damage.

Four horses have been put down and five others tested positive for the virus the confirmed cases happened at a boarding facility. The state says by law it can't say the exact stable but that is located in northern Wake County.

"I feel horrible for the people at the stables where this has happened," said Stevens.

The farms where the outbreak happened are under quarantine. The animals there are receiving vaccinations.

The state says the last time this virus infected horses here in North Carolina was two years ago.

"I was going to go down to Southern Pines to meet some friends to go trail riding tomorrow," said Stevens.

As a precaution, Stevens has been canceling or delaying plans so Angel doesn't come in contact with the deadly virus.

"It's not only keeping my horse safe, but it's also making sure that I'm not accidentally spreading something," said Stevens.

The horses still at the farm and quarantined are receiving vaccinations and being closely monitored.

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