State: Neb. horse disease outbreak hasn’t spread

Farm Forum

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – A deadly horse disease found in a northwestern Nebraska herd has not been detected in other herds and state officials say there is little chance the disease will spread.

Neb. State Veterinarian Dr. Dennis Hughes said June 19 that the herd in northwestern Cherry County remains quarantined and will undergo more tests over the next few months.

Earlier this month the Nebraska Agriculture Department began an investigation after 12 cases of equine infectious anemia were diagnosed in the herd. Ten of the 12 were euthanized because there are no treatment options.

The department said the remaining two ill horses were taken to the National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa, for work related to the disease testing.

Experts said the disease affects only horses, mules and donkeys and is usually fatal. No other animals or humans can be infected.

The disease, which is sometimes called swamp fever, causes swelling, weight loss, anemia, depression and fever. Owners of horses or mules who notice these symptoms should contact a veterinarian.

The virus is spread through bites from horseflies and other insects, as well as unsterilized needles and surgical equipment.

Nebraska requires any horses brought into the state to be tested for the disease before being imported.