State Fair horse barn put in quarantine for several hoursWith 300 Clydesdales waiting to leave and the next round of show horses waiting to move in, Wisconsin State Fair officials on Sunday put the horse barn in quarantine for more than six hours while waiting for test results to determine if a fatal disease had struck the herd.
By: By George Hesselberg, The Wisconsin State Journal, Superior Telegram
With 300 Clydesdales waiting to leave and the next round of show horses waiting to move in, Wisconsin State Fair officials on Sunday put the horse barn in quarantine for more than six hours while waiting for test results to determine if a fatal disease had struck the herd.
"We were concerned about the health of a few of the horses, there was some coughing and fever," said the fair's agriculture director, Brian Bolan.
The State Fair always attracts a large contingent of Clydesdales, but this year a national show was folded into the fair, increasing the number. Horses from several states and Canada were stabled, and tight restrictions on travel for sick horses made the wait Sunday tense at times. Initial fears were that the dreaded equine herpes virus EHV-1 may had been detected, but those fears proved unfounded, Bolan said. The virus, potentially fatal, often causes coughing and fever, among other symptoms.
An outbreak of EHV-1 last year caused Wisconsin veterinary officials to issue warnings about isolating horses after they had been to shows. If it had been detected at the State Fair, from which many horses continue to other shows, the midsummer horse show schedule would have been chaotic, at best. Any horse exposed to the virus should be isolated for 21 days, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection reminded in warnings a year ago.
Bolan said Tuesday that the sick horses were treated for the flu, and there were no casualties.
"We knew a few of the animals were under the weather, they were tested, treated, their temperatures brought down and coughing stopped," he said.
The quarantine was lifted about 1 p.m., he said, delaying departure by about seven hours. The Clydesdales were to have moved out between Saturday night and early Sunday morning.
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