Horse owners on alert after deadly virus discovered

Horse owners are on alert after a fatal virus was discovered at an equestrian center in Woodinville. (KOMO News)

WOODINVILLE, Wash. -- Horse owners are on alert after a fatal virus was discovered at an equestrian center here.

Seven horses have had to be euthanized at the Gold Creek Equestrian Center, according to Brian Joseph, the state veterinarian. But other horses have recovered.

The disease is know as EHV-1, a fatal strain of equine herpes.

Fifty-three horses are under quarantine at Gold Creek and under medical care. The state says some of the animals are showing symptoms, which include an elevated temperature, runny nose and difficulty with urination.

A few miles away at 5 C Farms, owner Kelly Colvin is keeping a close eye on 40 horses that live there.

"The whole horse community is concerned and worried, and there's so much you just don't know about this diseases, and the vets don't either," Colvin said.

There is no treatment for the virus or a vaccination,

A local nonprofit, Save a Forgotten Equine, dropped off cleaning supplies Tuesday at Gold Creek to help the equestrian center.

"My heart just goes out to any of the horse owners" said Lori McMaster of Save a Forgotten Equine. "I couldn't image it. It's just horrific."

The virus, which humans cannot contract, can be carried on tires, shoes, clothes. It's highly contagious among horses.

That's why so many are taking precaution

"Most of the facilities that I am aware of, including us, we are all under a voluntary quarantine. That just means none of our horses are going in and out," Colvin said.

The state has praised Gold Creek for its efforts to contain the virus.

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