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NYS Agriculture & Markets issues advisory about a virus affecting some horses

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets is advising owners, boarders and riders to watch their horses closely for signs of Equine Herpes Virus Type 1 (EHV-1) after several cases of the virus were confirmed in horses boarded in Canton, St. Lawrence County and Geneseo, Livingston County.

The virus is not a threat to humans, but people can also spread the virus from infected horses to other horses.  

The Department is investigating the cases at St. Lawrence University’s horse boarding facility and Leg Up Stables, which is home to SUNY Geneseo’s Equestrian Team.

State officials say that the stables are working closely with the Department and have voluntarily quarantined their animals and proactively instituted biosafety measures.

The state says that horses and people who visited the facilities, competed at the venues, or who had contact with these animals from February 23 through March 10 may have been exposed to EHV-1. This virus may cause neurological signs, or Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy (EHM), in horses. Symptoms can include fever, loss of balance and unsteady gait. 

In addition, people who visited the affected facilities during that time, and those who had contact with these horses, should pay close attention to biosecurity and carefully observe their own horses daily for neurological signs, which can indicate exposure to EHV-1. They also are advised to contact their veterinarian and the Division of Animal Industry at the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets at 518-457-3502. 

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.