Horse Health

BLM Statement on Outbreak of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1)

Unedited BLM Press Release
Release Date: 05/26/11
Contacts:Tom Gorey, 202-912-7420

BLM Captive ~ photo by Terry Fitch

The BLM is aware of the recent outbreak of neurologic disease caused by the equine herpes virus (EHV-1) in the Western United States. The Bureau has been working with state and Federal animal health officials to help protect the health and well-being of wild horses and burros on the range, along with those in BLM holding facilities. No BLM-managed wild horses or burros on the range or at BLM facilities are known to have been exposed or affected by the neurologic EHV-1 outbreak at this time. However, the Bureau is consulting and coordinating with animal health officials regarding the movement of wild horses and burros, as well as the scheduling of events such as adoptions that may place horses and burros in contact with horses, burros, or their owners in the domestic horse community. Some lower-risk movements between BLM facilities or BLM facilities and adoption events will continue. Other movements may be cancelled because of concerns regarding potential exposure to EHV-1. At this time, decisions will be made on a local, case-by-case basis in consultation with the BLM’s attending veterinarians and the state veterinarians in the area. All BLM horses and burros that travel interstate do so with valid Certificates of Veterinary Inspection (health certificates) and in accordance with state and Federal animal health regulations. The BLM asks the public to be aware of disease transmission risks and to contact local BLM offices to see if there are any restrictions in place before bringing domestic horses onto BLM-managed public lands.

17 replies »

  1. BLM should cancel all round ups scheduled for this summer to eliminate contact between wild and domestic horses. It is the responsibility/mandate that BLM protect the wild horses/burros from injury, disease etc. I hope they follow their own rules.


  2. I worry less about the wild ones on the range–than when they are rounded up! It’s those horses that the cowboys ride either at roundups or at a rodeo–those are the ones that have possibly come in contact with ill horses. And what happens when you bring your horse home from competition? He infects the rest of the gang.

    The wild ones will be stressed beyond imagination when they are rounded up. We know stress in humans causes all kinds of health issues. I see no reason to believe that horses are anything different in how stress will affect them.


  3. BLM’s attending veterinarians?

    What a joke these asshats have never done anything to protect the horses!

    This virus can be transmitted via the air!

    Ann is right all round-ups and events should be cancelled until this has run its course.


  4. WE certainly know what should and should not be done and actually so does the, umm, BLM but the proof is in the pudding, isn’t it, from past happening’s. I am concerned for all the horses and absolutley the stress of being chased my the helicopter and then into a new existance, all those horses in the STH-ing and LTH-ing…..Same ole same ole, they will do whatever they want until someone with the power and the sence of right steps in.


  5. Do you want to know what the first thing was that came to mind when I heard about this virus….that the BLM would ALLOW the Wild’s to be exposed to it, intentionally….pretty sad, huh…has anyone else had that cross their mind or am I the only one?


  6. *sigh*
    I was really disappointed when BLM held their adoption in Golden, Co @ our Jefferson County Fairgrounds/Westernaires Facility ( To get a ‘feel’ of just how MANY horses are in/out of that facility on ANY given weekened…

    The adoption was held just 1 week after the outbreak AND 1 week after there were 5 unconfirmed horses at that facility the weekend before! Just utter irresponsibility as far as I’m concerned.. BUT.. I’m not telling you guys anything new, huh…

    I went up to mosey around.. There were probably only 20-25 horses and 4 Burros… Yearlings a few 2-3 yr olds and some saddle trained guys.. They were amazing.. I DO believe in that program.. WHIPS.. in Canon City.. Those guys do an unbelieveable job..

    I just hope when they took the horses back to Canon City, everyone is still healthy.. It’s soo hard for me to go to these adoptions any more.. I just tear up and want to bawl knowing where they came from ..

    If this virus ever breaks out among LTH/STH we may as well kiss ’em all g’bye.. It’ll be a nightmare.. Jeez! Sorry for being ‘Debbie Downer’! Thanks for ALL you ALL do for our Mustangs & Burros..


  7. You are not Debbie Downer. The Downer is that we know what is going on with the BLM and these horses. And, no, you are not the only ones to have certain thoughts cross your mind. The virus can be passed through contaminated clothing, water buckets, as well as feed or hay. It just takes one. However, since the horses in short term holding as well as those on the range would be unlikely to come into contact with a carrier, it would be very, very smart of the BLM to make sure that none of these horses get exposed to this virus.

    Although the virus is of great concern because of it’s lethal potential, there are still only a small number of horses that have been affected. It isn’t even classified as an “outbreak” yet according to our horse extension person who sent us updated information this week. I am not trying to play this down because it is serious, but we won’t know for another month or so how many horses may have been affected from the initial contact.

    On the other hand, I have been doing some research on the evolution of wild horses, and there just is no real solid science yet that can explain why Equus disappeared from North America. At that time, our climate was similar to that of Europe and there would have been similarities in vegetation as well. So, I wondered when I heard about this if something like virus could have affected herds. It is alarming, but hopefully, horses living in the open would be less likely to get something like this.


  8. RT, I am sorry, should not have commented as I did about what does sound like a conspiracy, so please feel free to delete my comment, I take no offence if you do..


  9. Jeannie, remember that NAIS is lurking in the shadows and wouldn’t this be an opportunity for that department?


  10. Jeannie: Don’t be sorry for your comment. I, for one, thought of it as well. I’m sure others have too. Let’s hope that it does not happen. We must have faith that the wild horses and burros will prevail over the BLM and that all those participating in its activities pay the ultimate price for hurting these beautiful animals.
    I help out at a sanctuary and keep 1 horse there now, and have 2 more I’m adopting that were starving to death in a field in Oregon. I’m holding off moving them to California until all signs of the virus has passed.
    My plan will be to get more horses, saved from auction and even wild ones in the future. Like all of you, I love these animals and wish we could see all of them happy and healthy with family members. We must win this battle with the BLM.
    Please everyone pray for our beloved horses, all of them, wild or otherwise, and keep all eyes open for any signs of this terrible disease.
    Let’s hope that none of those horses at the adoption event in Colorado mentioned above will see the virus.


  11. Yes, I thought this could be the case when the outbreak first became know to
    the public. This is a very dangerous time for all our horses. But as usual the
    BLM treats it like its an every day occurance. The public should make an out cry
    on these roundups. Its even more crutial now that the roundups stop. I will make
    my usual calls to my Legislators and the President with this new information.
    Thank you for putting that information out that the USDA released. I have called
    my veterinarian with the info in case he does not have it and will pass the info
    on to all my friends.


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