FARMINGTON -- A horse show scheduled for this weekend in Davis County has been canceled because of what officials are calling an "uncommon outbreak of equine herpes."
The Legacy Reining Show and Legacy All Breed Show scheduled for today and Saturday at the county-owned and -operated Legacy Events Center in Farmington will not take place, said Dave Hansen, center director.
Five horses at a Utah facility have tested positive for the Equine Herpes Virus, the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food announced Wednesday.
The outbreak of the highly contagious virus was first reported May 13 after it was diagnosed in horses that had been exposed to the illness during a cutting horse event at Golden Spike Event Center in Ogden from April 29 to May 8.
"Golden Spike Event Center is devastated by the news that the horses of some owners and trainers have been affected by the outbreak of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) brought into our facility in early May," the center's general manager, Jim Harvey, said in a prepared statement.
"Within hours of first learning about the virus, the GSEC elected to take precautionary measures by disinfecting and applying an antimicrobial virus neutralizer to all equine areas."
The outbreak is not a reflection on the facility, Harvey said, mirroring the thoughts of Utah State Veterinarian Bruce L. King.
Harvey said the event center has no horse events scheduled this weekend.
"What we have done is to postpone a show or two, so that we are extra safe."
The Golden Spike Event Center is not canceling horse shows, Harvey said, but is giving customers all of the information available from the State Veterinarian Office so they can make an educated decision as to what they want to do.
Davis County officials are also taking a cautionary approach to the outbreak.
"As the manager of the Legacy Events Center, I feel it is in the best interest of our customers, their horses and of the Legacy Center to cancel all horse events in the immediate future," Hansen wrote in an email to the Standard-Examiner.
"We have not had the Equine Herpes Virus (EVH-1) at the Legacy Center, and we don't want to get it."
Hansen said that, in his conversation with the state veterinarian office, they agreed it would be wise to take a cautious approach.
"It would buy us a little time to see what this virus is going to do."
From now until Tuesday, all horse events scheduled for Legacy Events Center are canceled, Hansen said, and horses currently outside the premises will not be allowed to enter.
He said he hopes that, between now and Tuesday, the Legacy Events Center will learn the virus was contained at one show in one facility.
"If it appears as if the virus outbreak is spreading, we will continue to cancel equestrian events until it is safe to resume them," Hansen said.
Horse owners should watch their horses carefully and call their veterinarian immediately if any abnormal signs are observed, King said in a prepared statement.
Symptoms associated with the disease include fever, decreased coordination, nasal discharge, urine dribbling, loss of tail tone, hind-limb weakness, leaning against a wall or fence to maintain balance, lethargy and the inability to rise, King said.
He said the disease is not transmissible to humans or animals other than equine (horses, mules, burros) and camelid (llamas, alpacas, camels) species.