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Laura Martlock

VIRGINIA HORSE TESTS POSITIVE FOR WEST NILE VIRUS

By Informational Articles and News

The Orange County horse was not currently vaccinated against the disease.

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) today announced the state’s first positive case of West Nile Virus (WNV) in a horse in 2015. The horse, a five-year-old Choctaw mare, is from Orange County. The horse was not currently vaccinated for WNV. The onset of WNV symptoms started August 3, 2015. The horse was treated at an equine veterinary hospital in Charlottesville and discharged when its symptoms improved. Dr. Joe Garvin, head of VDACS’ Office of Laboratory Services, urges horse owners to check with their veterinarians about vaccinating their animals for WNV. “WNV is a mosquito-borne disease,” he said, “and we generally start seeing our first cases in August and September. The disease is preventable by vaccination, as is Eastern Equine Encephalitis, so many veterinarians recommend vaccination at least yearly, and in mosquito-prone areas, every six months.” He adds that mosquito season in Virginia can run through November.

The WNV vaccine for equines initially requires two doses administered three to six weeks apart. The vaccine takes four to six weeks from the second dose for optimal effectiveness. Horse owners should consult with their veterinarians to choose a re-vaccination schedule to protect their horses effectively. Prevention methods besides vaccination include destroying standing water breeding sites for mosquitoes, use of insect repellents and removing animals from mosquito-infested areas during peak biting times, usually dusk to dawn. Mosquitoes can transmit the virus from bird to bird. Occasionally a mosquito that has bitten an infected bird will then bite a human, horse or other mammal and transmit the virus to them. Transmission between horses and humans is extremely unlikely. Continuous, effective mosquito control can minimize the risk of exposure of both horses and humans to mosquito-borne diseases.

Currently, no drugs exist to treat WNV specifically in horses or humans. The mortality rate in equines with WNV is about 30 percent. Since there is no specific treatment for WNV, treatment consists of supportive therapy to maintain the animal’s hydration, and to prevent the animal from injuring itself throughout the two to three weeks of the disease. A veterinarian can prescribe treatment tailored to the particular case. Animal owners should consult their veterinarians if an animal exhibits any neurological symptoms such as a stumbling gait, going down, facial paralysis, drooping or disinterest in their surroundings. There are live-animal tests for WNV in horses and chickens, but none for other animals; however, testing can be done on any dead animal. If an animal owner suspects WNV symptoms, they should consult their veterinarians or the nearest VDACS Regional Animal Health Laboratory for advice and information.

The following websites provide more information on WNV and how to protect humans and horses:

Horses:
Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, West Nile Virus information page
U.S. Department of Agriculture, West Nile Virus information page

Humans:
Virginia Department of Health, West Nile Virus information
Centers for Disease Control, West Nile Virus information

Virginia Hunter Championships Debut August 4 at Virginia Horse Center

By Informational Articles and News

Lexington, VA – July 23, 2015 – The state of Virginia is home to some of the nation’s longest standing and most historic hunter horse shows. And now the Virginia Hunter Championships offer an added incentive for riders and trainers competing at these notable shows within the commonwealth.

 

The inaugural Virginia Hunter Championships, presented by Markel, will be held at the Virginia Horse Center on Tuesday, August 4. The one-day show will give out more than $60,000 in prize money to exhibitors who have been competing in Virginia throughout the year.

 

“There are so many horse shows in Virginia that are sort of ‘stand alones,'” explained Chris Wynne, one of the driving forces behind the creation of the Virginia Hunter Championships. “A farm has one or two shows, like Rosemount Farm, or an organization has one or two like an Upperville or a Keswick. We’re trying to help those horse shows and get people to stay at home and show in Virginia at their home horse shows.”

 

The Virginia Hunter Championships on August 4 will offer a $15,000 Professional Hunter Classic, a $10,000 Pre-Green Hunter Classic, a $10,000 Junior/Amateur-Owner Hunter Classic, a $10,000 Children’s Hunter Classic, a $10,000 Adult Amateur Hunter Classic and a $5,000 Pony/Children’s Pony Classic.

 

In order to be a part of the classics at the Virginia Hunter Championships, horses had to qualify by showing at Virginia horse shows throughout the year. Horses wishing to compete for the professional classic must have shown in at least four of the qualifying shows, while those qualifying for all other classics must have shown in at least six. Listed qualifying shows included:

 

The Barracks December “A” (12/11-14)*                 Lexington Spring Encore “AA”(4/29-5/3)
The Barracks January I “A” (1/2-4)*                        James River Hunt “A” (5/8-10)
The Barracks January II “A” (1/8-11)*                     Keswick Horse Show “AA” (5/12-17)
Stonewall Country I “A” (1/15-18)                           Upperville Horse Show “AA”(6/1-7)
Stonewall Country II “A” (1/30-2/1)                         Loudoun Benefit Horse Show “AA”(6/10-14)
The Barracks February “A” (2/6-8)*                        Roanoke Valley Horse Show “AA” (6/16-20)
Hollins Spring Welcome “A” (2/26-3/1)                  Deep Run Horse Show “AA” (6/17-21)
The Barracks March “A” (3/6-8)*                           Warrenton Pony Show “A” (6/24-28)
Rosemount Farm “AA” (4/8-12)                             Rosemount Farm “A” (7/24-26)
Lexington Spring Premiere “AA” (4/22-26)

A-rated shows were given a value of 1.5 shows, and AA-rated shows a value of one show.

“We have a lot of good professionals that have qualified for it, and we’ve received great sponsorship support for our first year,” Wynne said. “A number of individuals and Virginia families have been very nice to sponsor this as a way to show support and to keep the Virginia horse shows going. They’ve shown at Keswick or Warrenton or places like that and want to make sure that they keep going. Today it’s difficult to keep these historic hunter horse shows alive and thriving if you don’t have jumpers. We hope that this gives another avenue for that.”

All of the entry money and money raised for the Virginia Hunter Championships is funneled directly back into the event, allowing for greater prize money, exhibitor parties and more.

“Every dollar earned toward the event is put back into the event,” Wynne said. “It’s not a moneymaker. It’s all for the exhibitors and the trainers that have supported the Virginia horse shows for the year.”

The Virginia Hunter Championships will immediately precede the Lexington National Horse Show, held August 5-9, 2015. Click here to learn more about the Virginia Hunter Championships and the Lexington National Horse Show.

FIRST CASE OF EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS IN A VIRGINIA HORSE FOR 2015

By Informational Articles and News

FIRST CASE OF EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS IN A HORSE FOR 2015
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) has confirmed the first case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in a Virginia horse this year. The horse, a 12-year-old miniature mare, was from Chesapeake and had not been vaccinated for EEE.

EEE causes inflammation or swelling of the brain and spinal cord. The disease is also called “sleeping sickness.” Symptoms include impaired vision, aimless wandering, head pressing, circling, inability to swallow, irregular staggering gait, paralysis, convulsions and death. Once a horse has been bitten by an infected mosquito, it may take three to 10 days for signs of the disease to appear.

Last year Virginia had one reported case of EEE, in a horse from Suffolk. The disease has a mortality rate of 80 to 90 percent, so prevention is a key part of equine health. Vaccination and mosquito control/avoidance are the central elements of prevention.

In a May 2015 press release, Dr. Richard Wilkes, VDACS’ State Veterinarian, encouraged horse owners to work with their veterinarians to plan a vaccination schedule that would protect their horses from EEE and West Nile Virus (WNV). Available vaccines are generally effective in drastically reducing the incidence of both EEE and WNV in horses. For the vaccine to be effective it must be handled and administered properly and be given at least two weeks before the horse is exposed to the virus. Additionally, to stimulate full immunity, horses must be vaccinated twice, about 30 days apart, the first year of vaccination. The vaccines are effective for six to 12 months, so horses should be revaccinated at least annually. In an area where the disease occurs frequently, such as southeast and Tidewater Virginia, most veterinarians recommend vaccination every six months.

In addition to vaccination, it is a good idea to avoid mosquito infested areas and to take measures to reduce the local mosquito population to minimize the chances of mosquitos biting your horse.

For more information, please contact VDACS’ Office of the State Veterinarian at 804.692.0601 or consult your local veterinarian.

 

 

Elaine Lidholm

Director of Communications

Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

102 Governor Street

Richmond VA 23219

804.786.7686

Bucky Reynolds and Jack Towell Present Clinic at Virginia Horse Center August 24-25

By Informational Articles and News

Bucky Reynolds and Jack Towell Present Clinic at Virginia Horse Center August 24-25

Lexington, VA – June 9, 2015 – For two days in August, the Virginia Horse Center Foundation will give riders the rare opportunity to learn from two of the nation’s most notable horseman. Renowned trainers Bucky Reynolds and Jack Towell come together at the Virginia Horse Center Aug. 24-25 for “How to Improve Your Performance in the Show Ring.”

The two-day clinic will offer sections for riders at 2’6″, 3′, and 3’3″, with each section being offered both days. Rider reservations are accepted on a strictly first come, first served basis with a limit of 8 riders per section. Reservations can be made using the reservation form found here.
Each two-hour section will incorporate flat work, jumping exercises and course work. Each session is followed by an opportunity for riders to ask Reynolds and Towell questions as trainers and judges about any aspect of riding and showing.

Reynolds is a well-known, highly respected hunter/jumper trainer and judge. Reynolds has trained and ridden some of the most notable show hunters in the United States including Henry the Hawk, Square Lake, Stocking Stuffer, Garbiel and Gozzi. He also trained national champions in the amateur owners with his sister, Betty Oare, riding Estrella. Reynolds has judged every major horse show in the United States including the National Horse Show, the Devon Horse Show and the Pennsylvania National, and he is a member of the VHSA Hall of Fame.

Similarly, Towell is one of the only trainers in the country to train a champion or reserve champion in every division at the year-end fall indoor horse shows. He has been named the Leading Junior Hunter Trainer of the World Champion Junior Hunter Rider association. Towell’s students have been named Best Child Rider at Devon and the fall indoor shows 18 times. He has trained the overall High Score Pony Hunter at the U.S. Pony Finals and the overall champion at the U.S. Junior Hunter Finals. Towell also judges some of the most prestigious horse shows in the country and has twice trained Brunello, ridden by daughter Liza Boyd, to the USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship. His son, Hardin, is a successful grand prix rider currently based in California.

Both of these accomplished horsemen bring great insight into the riding and training skills that produce winning rounds in the show ring.

Click here for more information or visit the Virginia Horse Center website here.

The Virginia Horse Center is situated on a 573-acre site with eight barns to accommodate 750 horses in permanent stabling. Indoor stabling can be increased to 1,200 horses with the use of temporary stalls. The Virginia Horse Center hosts 19 show rings, including two large arenas and a five-mile Olympic cross-country course. Four of the Virginia Horse Center barns are winterized with close access to the 4,000 seat indoor coliseum. The Virginia Horse Center is recognized for the excellent footing of its show rings and the durable construction of the concrete stalls. The Virginia Horse Center also offers camping facilities and on-site food and beverage services. Find the Horse Center online at www.horsecenter.com.

Vaccinate Now!

By Informational Articles and News

IT MAKES SENSE TO VACCINATE MOST HORSES NOW

~ State Veterinarian’s Office Urges Horse Owners to Check with Their Veterinarians Now  Regarding Vaccination Schedule ~

Mosquito season will begin soon in Virginia and has already begun in some areas. That means it’s time to start thinking about vaccinating your horses against mosquito-borne illnesses such as West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), and possibly against rabies as well. Unlike WNV and EEE, rabies is a three-year vaccine that does not need to be repeated annually.

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) urges all horse owners to check with their veterinarians for vaccination recommendations for their animals. Virginia only had one confirmed case of WNV (Augusta County) and one of EEE (Suffolk) in 2014, although many other states had a much higher incidence of cases.

“Timely vaccination has been shown to decrease WNV and EEE disease incidence drastically,” said Dr. Richard Wilkes, State Veterinarian at VDACS. “Without vaccination, we would expect to see many more infected horses, so we still urge horse owners to consider EEE and WNV vaccination. We believe that in most cases, private veterinarians will recommend them for their clients.”

Vaccines are effective for six to twelve months, so horses should be re-vaccinated at least annually. In areas where the disease occurs frequently, most veterinarians recommend vaccination every six months. For the vaccine to be effective it must be handled and administered properly and be given at least two weeks before the horse is exposed to the virus. Additionally, to stimulate full immunity, horses must be vaccinated twice, about 30 days apart, the first year they are vaccinated. Other prevention methods include destroying standing water breeding sites for mosquitoes, using insect repellents and removing animals from mosquito-infested areas during peak biting times, usually dusk to dawn.

Dr. Wilkes also suggests that owners check about rabies vaccinations for their horses. There were no cases of rabies in Virginia horses last year but four each in 2012 and 2013.

Rabies vaccines are also very effective and vaccinating horses annually can prevent rabies in both horses and humans. In addition to taking measures to decrease the likelihood that horses will be exposed to rabies, routine rabies vaccination is a very important aspect of disease prevention.

All three of these diseases – EEE, WNV and rabies – cause neurologic signs in horses, such as  staggering, circling, depression, loss of appetite and sometimes fever and blindness. The diseases can kill anywhere from 30 percent (WNV) to 90 percent (EEE) to 100 percent (rabies) of the horses infected.  There is no proven cure for these diseases, but veterinarians can provide supportive therapy to treat symptoms of EEE and WNV and keep horses from injuring themselves. Rabies is always fatal. Humans can become infected with rabies by handling a rabid horse but cannot become infected with EEE or WNV by handling an infected horse, nor can a horse acquire the virus from another infected horse. The presence of an infected horse in the area indicates that mosquitoes carrying EEE or WNV are present, however, and those insects pose a threat to both humans and horses.

For more information on WNV or EEE, contact the Office of Veterinary Services, Division of Animal Industry Services, VDACS, at 804.786.2483 or see vdacs.virginia.gov/animals/diseases.shtml. Information about rabies and rabies exposures can be found on the Virginia Department of Health’s Rabies Control page at vdh.virginia.gov/Epidemiology/DEE/Rabies/. Horse owners should contact their veterinarians for further advice on prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

 

Elaine Lidholm

Director of Communications
Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
102 Governor Street
Richmond VA 23219
804.786.7686

NEW Case of Equine Herpesvirus

By Informational Articles and News

EQUINE HERPESVIRUS MYELOENCEPHALOPATHY (EHM) CONFIRMED IN AN ADDITIONAL VIRGINIA HORSE

On Thursday, February 12, 2015, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) was notified of a horse in Loudoun County that tested positive for Equine Herpesvirus Myeloencephalopathy (EHM), a neurological disease of horses caused by Equine Herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1).

On February 5 that horse exhibited a fever and was not eating or drinking. Even though it never showed neurological signs, the owner took the horse to the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center (EMC) in Leesburg. There they tested for and quickly diagnosed EHV-1. The horse is under quarantine there and is recovering. A second horse from the same farm exhibited a fever but no other signs. As a precaution, it is also under quarantine at the EMC and VDACS is running tests at its Regional Animal Health Laboratory in Warrenton.

Dr. Richard Wilkes, State Veterinarian with VDACS, stressed that the horses were admitted directly into the isolation area at Marion duPont Scott. At no time were these horses in the general hospital area. The EMC is confident that their bio-security protocols will contain the virus to the isolation area.

Thirty-three other horses from the same farm are under quarantine on the farm premises in Loudoun County. None of them have shown any signs of EHV-1, but will be monitored at least through February 26. No horses from this farm have been at events during the incubation period for the virus.

VDACS began an epidemiological investigation on February 13 and will continue to monitor the situation. The Department will provide regular updates on its website – vdacs.virginia.gov/animals/ehv.shtml – and on Facebook and Twitter at facebook.com/VaAgriculture and twitter.com/VaAgriculture/.

On February 6, VDACS announced that a horse in western Albemarle County had tested positive for EHV-1. That horse has been under quarantine for a week and continues to improve. There is no known connection between the Loudoun and Albemarle horses.

More information on EHV-1 is available at vdacs.virginia.gov/animals/ehv.shtml.

 

Elaine Lidholm

Director of Communications

Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

102 Governor Street

Richmond VA 23219

804.786.7686

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EQUINE HERPESVIRUS MYELOENCEPHALOPATHY (EHM) CONFIRMED IN A VIRGINIA HORSE

By Informational Articles and News

On Thursday, February 5, 2015, VDACS was notified of a positive result for Equine Herpesvirus Myeloencephalopathy (EHM) on a horse displaying neurologic signs in western Albemarle County, Northwest of Charlottesville. The affected horse is located at a boarding stable with 14 other horses at the facility. VDACS contacted the stable manager and placed the facility under quarantine – no horses are allowed to exit or enter the premises until the quarantine is released.

The affected horse is a 14-year-old gelding that showed symptoms on Saturday, January 31, became recumbent on Sunday, February 1, but is now stable. Samples were taken by a private veterinarian and the result was reported to VDACS February 5. An epidemiologic investigation is underway; initial findings indicate that only one exposed horse from the facility has left the premises within the last 14 days, and that horse went out of state. VDACS will continue to monitor the situation and provide regular updates on our website – vdacs.virginia.gov/animals/ehv.shtml – and on Facebook and Twitter at facebook.com/VaAgriculture and https://twitter.com/vaagriculture/.

More information on EHV-1 is available at vdacs.virginia.gov/animals/ehv.shtml.

 

Elaine Lidholm

Director of Communications

Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

102 Governor Street

Richmond VA 23219

804.786.7686

1st VA Horse in 2014 Tests Positive for WNV

By Informational Articles and News

FIRST VIRGINIA HORSE IN 2014 TESTS POSITIVE FOR WEST NILE VIRUS

Horse had not been vaccinated for disease.

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) today announced 2014’s first positive case of West Nile Virus (WNV) in a horse. The horse, an eight-year-old Paint Gelding, is from Augusta County. It had not been vaccinated for WNV.

Dr. Joe Garvin, head of VDACS’ Office of Laboratory Services, urges horse owners to check with their veterinarians about vaccinating their animals for WNV. “WNV is a mosquito-borne disease,” he said, “and we generally start seeing our first cases in August and September. The disease is preventable by vaccination, as is Eastern Equine Encephalitis, so many veterinarians recommend vaccination at least yearly, and in mosquito-prone areas, every six months.” He adds that mosquito season in Virginia can run through November.

The WNV vaccine for equines initially requires two doses administered three to six weeks apart. The vaccine takes four to six weeks from the second dose for optimal effectiveness. Horse owners should consult with their veterinarians to choose a re-vaccination schedule to protect their horses effectively. Prevention methods besides vaccination include destroying standing water breeding sites for mosquitoes, use of insect repellents and removing animals from mosquito-infested areas during peak biting times, usually dusk to dawn.

Mosquitoes can transmit the virus from bird to bird. Occasionally a mosquito that has bitten an infected bird will then bite a human, horse or other mammal and transmit the virus to them. Transmission between horses and humans is extremely unlikely. Continuous, effective mosquito control can minimize the risk of exposure of both horses and humans to mosquito-borne diseases.

Currently, no drugs exist to treat WNV specifically in horses or humans. The mortality rate in equines is about 30 percent. Treatment for an infected horse consists of supportive therapy to prevent the animal from injuring itself throughout the two to three weeks of the disease. A veterinarian can prescribe treatment tailored to the particular case.

Animal owners should consult their veterinarians if an animal exhibits any neurological symptoms such as a stumbling gait, going down, facial paralysis, drooping or disinterest in their surroundings. Currently, there are live-animal tests for WNV in horses and chickens, but none for other animals, although testing can be done on any dead animal. Animal owners should consult their veterinarians or the nearest VDACS Regional Animal Health Laboratory for advice or information should an animal exhibit symptoms of WNV. The location and phone number of each lab is available at vdacs.virginia.gov/about/directory-ais.shtml.

The following websites provide more information on WNV and how to protect humans and horses:

Horses:

http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/animals/wnv.html

http://www.aphis.usda.gov/vs/nahss/equine/wnv/

Humans:

http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/epidemiology/DEE/Vectorborne/factsheets/westnilevirus.htm

First Case of EEE in a Horse for 2014

By Informational Articles and News

FIRST VIRGINIA HORSE IN 2014 TESTS POSITIVE FOR WEST NILE VIRUS

Horse had not been vaccinated for disease.

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) today announced 2014’s first positive case of West Nile Virus (WNV) in a horse. The horse, an eight-year-old Paint Gelding, is from Augusta County. It had not been vaccinated for WNV.

Dr. Joe Garvin, head of VDACS’ Office of Laboratory Services, urges horse owners to check with their veterinarians about vaccinating their animals for WNV. “WNV is a mosquito-borne disease,” he said, “and we generally start seeing our first cases in August and September. The disease is preventable by vaccination, as is Eastern Equine Encephalitis, so many veterinarians recommend vaccination at least yearly, and in mosquito-prone areas, every six months.” He adds that mosquito season in Virginia can run through November.

The WNV vaccine for equines initially requires two doses administered three to six weeks apart. The vaccine takes four to six weeks from the second dose for optimal effectiveness. Horse owners should consult with their veterinarians to choose a re-vaccination schedule to protect their horses effectively. Prevention methods besides vaccination include destroying standing water breeding sites for mosquitoes, use of insect repellents and removing animals from mosquito-infested areas during peak biting times, usually dusk to dawn.

Mosquitoes can transmit the virus from bird to bird. Occasionally a mosquito that has bitten an infected bird will then bite a human, horse or other mammal and transmit the virus to them. Transmission between horses and humans is extremely unlikely. Continuous, effective mosquito control can minimize the risk of exposure of both horses and humans to mosquito-borne diseases.

Currently, no drugs exist to treat WNV specifically in horses or humans. The mortality rate in equines is about 30 percent. Treatment for an infected horse consists of supportive therapy to prevent the animal from injuring itself throughout the two to three weeks of the disease. A veterinarian can prescribe treatment tailored to the particular case.

Animal owners should consult their veterinarians if an animal exhibits any neurological symptoms such as a stumbling gait, going down, facial paralysis, drooping or disinterest in their surroundings. Currently, there are live-animal tests for WNV in horses and chickens, but none for other animals, although testing can be done on any dead animal. Animal owners should consult their veterinarians or the nearest VDACS Regional Animal Health Laboratory for advice or information should an animal exhibit symptoms of WNV. The location and phone number of each lab is available at vdacs.virginia.gov/about/directory-ais.shtml.

The following websites provide more information on WNV and how to protect humans and horses:

Horses:

http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/animals/wnv.html

http://www.aphis.usda.gov/vs/nahss/equine/wnv/

Humans:

http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/epidemiology/DEE/Vectorborne/factsheets/westnilevirus.htm

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