(HUTCHINSON, Kan.) — Horse owners in Kansas are being warned to monitor their horses for symptoms of a potentially serious disease.
The warning follows an outbreak of equine herpes virus.
As of May 18, a total of 14 confirmed or suspected cases have been reported in California, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Utah, Washington, and Alberta, Canada.
For that reason, a major team roping event has been postponed at the Kansas State Fairgrounds this weekend.
“A lot of people have called and don't want to take a chance getting their horse sick,” says organizer Jeff Smith.
Although there are no known cases in Kansas, Smith says people come from across the country.
“Every part of the United States…800 or 900 horses and usually like 2,000 teams,” says Smith.
Smith says they will try to hold the event in about a month and hope by then that animal health officials have more answers.
Kansas State officials say the virus is contagious and is spread by direct horse-to-horse contact, but also by contaminated hands, equipment and tack. The virus also can spread for a short time through the air within the stall and stable environment.
Horse owners should look for fever, nasal discharge, coordination issues, and hind end weakness.