A 6-week-old foal in Clay County was put down recently after contracting the highly contagious horse disease called Equine Herpesvirus Myeloencephalopathy.
According to the Minnesota Board of Animal Health, the farm that housed the horse has been placed under quarantine to monitor the other horses there, and it is activating its EHM control plan.
The infected horse was seen by a veterinarian July 15, displaying symptoms including a loosely hanging lower lip, biting at his front legs, stumbling, circling and an inability to rise on his own. He was euthanized, and his body was sent off for testing, which came back positive for EHM.
According to the animal health board, the disease is spread through body contact, specifically nose-to-nose, as well as through contaminated objects like tack, feed and water buckets, grooming equipment and a person's hands or clothing. It states that horses may appear healthy while spreading the disease, and owners should adhere to bio-security practices to prevent the spread of this disease and others.
If a horse is identified as having contracted EHM, owners are required to report it to the Board of Animal Health, after which time they will also be required to be quarantined while the board tests and monitors all other horses that have come into contact with the infected horse.