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Contagious diseases threatening Southern Nevada's horses

Moapa Valley High School rodeo canceled as result
Posted at 11:32 PM, Feb 23, 2017

Two highly contagious diseases are threatening Nevada's horses.

The Nevada State Department of Agriculture has had reports of at least six horses with either equine herpes or a disease known as "strangles."

The department has recommended a moratorium on rodeos for 30 days. Now the Moapa Valley High School Rodeo that was scheduled for this weekend has been called off.

"We need to put the kids and the animals first," said Troy Christensen, the rodeo director. "We didn't want to bring anything into the valley. We didn't want to start spreading it around the state."

One of the sick horses was at a Boulder City rodeo this month, so experts say horse owners in Southern Nevada should be on the lookout for symptoms, such as coughing, runny nose, high temperature and swelling under the throat.

"This has the potential at a high school rodeo event with several hundred horses to spread across the state in one weekend," said Dr. JJ Goicoechea, Nevada's state veterinarian.

All the reported cases have come from northwest Nevada. It takes three to four weeks for the strangles disease to run its course.

There's no health risk to humans.