Colorado State University today lifted the voluntary quarantine of horses hospitalized at the James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital that was initiated on Oct. 31. Close monitoring and repeated testing of quarantined horses for equine herpes virus type 1, called EHV-1, has allowed university officials to lift the quarantine today. The hospital will resume all normal activities Saturday, Nov. 18.
Virus infections were initially discovered in two horses being treated for unrelated illnesses and hospital officials immediately elected to quarantine all hospitalized horses to protect other horses in the community. In total, five hospitalized horses admitted for other reasons were found to be infected with EHV-1. Four horses had mild fevers, and one developed mild neurological signs that are improving.
"No horses from the hospitalized population have shown new signs of infection for two weeks, and all quarantined horses have tested negative on four consecutive tests for the virus," said Dr. Paul Morley, director of Biosecurity for the hospital. "Because of these findings, combined with our understanding of disease caused by this virus, we are confident that all quarantined horses can leave the hospital without posing an increased risk to other horses."
Hospital officials at Colorado State worked closely with the Colorado State Veterinarian’s office to develop a monitoring and testing plan to determine when to lift the quarantine. The equine hospital has also been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected to eliminate any potential contamination.
"Colorado State University’s Veterinary Medical Center has one of the best teams of veterinary specialists in the world. This includes experts with extensive knowledge of EHV-1 and strategies to prevent and contain the spread of this disease," said Dr. Martin Fettman, director of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital. "We take exceptional measures to provide the best care possible, and those measures include maintaining one of the most rigorous biosecurity programs of any veterinary hospital in the world. While this voluntary quarantine was a precautionary move, we felt it was prudent and in the best interest of our clients and their horses."
All equine in-patient and out-patient care will be resumed on Saturday. No other veterinary activities at the hospital were affected by the quarantine, and no other equine services or facilities at the university were affected.
Horse owners with questions about EHV-1 should contact their veterinarian.