2 horse diseases found in Minnesota

Authorities have detected two different horse diseases in Minnesota — one in Washington County and another in Itasca County.

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health (BAH) says a mare in Itasca County was confirmed to have eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), which is spread by mosquitoes.

Additionally, a Washington County mare tested positive for equine herpesvirus (EHV-1), which is spread easily between horses and can remain inactive for long periods of time, the BAH says.

"The similarity between these two equine diseases is they can both take on a neurologic form and impact horses very severely, sometimes leading to death," Dr. Brian Hoefs, senior veterinarian of the equine program, said. "How the diseases are spread, how they’re prevented and how we respond to them are different. Because of the varied threat to the health of your horse we strongly encourage routine checkups with your veterinarian."

Both horses were euthanized last month after their conditions deteriorated, the BAH says.

The BAH added that a second horse on the farm where the EHV-1-positive mare was displayed similar signs and was also euthanized but not tested.

While there’s not a vaccine available to protect against EHV-1, the BAH urges all horse owners to get their horses vaccinated regularly against EEE.