Officials Warn Horse Virus Spreading In Nevada County

NEVADA CITY (CBS13) — Mikaila Ives, 17, is getting in some extra practice with her horse, Snickers, before this weekend’s competition.

“I just make sure I have everything, that I am very prepared, that the horse is prepared. And make sure that you have a good time!” said Ives. 

She has been riding for the past five years. She knows that even just to compete, her horse has to be healthy.

“It’s definitely teamwork. So, when you’re on the horse, you definitely feel a connection, especially since it’s a living animal.”

Part of the teamwork includes paying extra attention to her horse’s health, as news spreads that two horses have been infected with Equine Corona Virus in Penn Valley.

“It makes you want to keep a closer eye out, especially anything unusual with the horse,” she said.

Equine Corona Virus, also known as “foothill fever,” includes symptoms like fever and decreased appetite. Most of the time, horses are sick just for a few days. But in small number of cases, the disease can been fatal. That’s why the city is working to get the word out.

“Because it is a highly contagious virus, we thought it was important to notify our community,” explained Daniel Chatigny, the Interim Agriculture Commissioner for Nevada City.

He says the virus is spread by fecal to oral contact. That means horse owners need to watch what their horses are eating and maintain a clean environment for the horses — not just cleaning barns and stables, but tools and equipment as well.

Equine Corona Virus has been a concern in Northern California for the past five years, according to Nevada City officials.

Veterinarians say the two horses infected locally are likely to recover. In the meantime, the city is trying to keep the virus from spreading.

“Our outreach is just to put precautionary advisories out for the community to help limit any potential spread on these farms or to other farms. And to reiterate to the public that there is no human threat from this virus,” said Chatigny.

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