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Deadly virus that affects horses reported in Flathead County

EHM can cause severe neurological and respiratory disease in horses
Posted at 6:24 PM, Feb 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-02 10:27:31-05

KALISPELL - A deadly virus that affects horses is raising concerns in Flathead County.

The Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) is recommending the cancellation of all equine events in Flathead County after four horses were euthanized after coming down with Equine Herpes Virus.

Referred to as EHV-1, the virus is common in horses, like the common cold in humans, but can mutate into a more severe virus called EHM.

EHM can cause severe neurological and respiratory disease in horses, often being fatal.

Montana Department of Livestock veterinarian Dr. Martin Zaluski said horses that come down with the virus can be contagious for up to 21 days.

He said isolating horses that are showing symptoms of the virus such as fever, difficulty walking, and standing is key in stopping the spread.

“What we’re are wanting to do is again break the cycle of transmission from horse to horse and the only way that you do that is you prevent those horses from coming into contact with each other,” said Dr. Zaluski