by Rusty Ford
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture has alerted Kentucky’s Agriculture Commissioner, James Comer, and staff in the Kentucky State Veterinarians Office of Dr. Robert Stout of an illness affecting horses that participated in the Bucksnort Trail Ride held in Tennessee in late April.
Information provided by Tennessee officials describe horses that had neurological abnormalities. The information released on May 9 says that the illness has resulted in four equine deaths with four additional horses demonstrating similar symptoms. On May 10, officials learned that preliminary diagnostic testing gives evidence that one or more of the sick horses may have contracted equine herpesvirus type-1 (EHV-1).
Management at the trail ride provided Tennessee officials with a listing of participants that included seven Kentucky residents. These individuals participated with eight horses originating from the Kentucky counties of Edmonson, Logan, Simpson, Todd and Warren. One of the horses is included as a fatality of the illness. Veterinarians and the owners of the remaining seven horses all report that the horses returned from the trail ride in good form and remain bright, alert, responsive and healthy this morning. The seven remaining horses are not known to have direct contact with any sick animal and will continue to be monitored closely. Diagnostic samples collected from the single ill horse residing in Kentucky prior to its death have been submitted for diagnostic testing. Other horses residing on this same farm are under veterinary restriction pending a determination as to what caused the horse’s illness.
The Kentucky State Veterinarians Office is providing the following preliminary’ information and its position in response to a diagnosis of EHV-1 having caused the neurological disease being described.
Bucksnort Trail Ride announced it will be closed in May so its Memorial Day Ride has been cancelled. Organizers say they are optimistic for June's event, and are preparing by "spraying the camp and barns and surrounding areas with a bleach mixture specified by Dr. Hatcher."