Several horses from a horse farm in the Outaouais are currently infected with equine herpesvirus type 1 (HVE-1). Three horses have already died and 17 others are fighting for their survival. The virus itself is not uncommon, but horses have a severe form of it which is fatal in around 80% of affected animals.
• Read also: Virus hits horse farm hard in Outaouais
Manuella Séguin, owner of a sick horse and a volunteer who helps take care of the horses, finds the situation particularly difficult.
“It’s hard to keep hope and stay optimistic, but we have to do it because the horses need us,” she explains.
Manuella Séguin, owner of a sick horse
“If we are not there for them, there is no one else who will be”, continues the young woman.
Veterinarian and virologist Carl A. Gagnon explains that several symptoms can affect horses infected with the virus. There may be fatigue and fever, but also ataxia, a partial paralysis which can cause movement difficulties to the animals.
Manuella Séguin says that horses have been much less active for almost two weeks. She also claims that they all seem exhausted and are not very alert.
However, there is no question for owners to lower their guard and relax the care of horses.
“Even though it’s hard physically and mentally for everyone, we have to keep our cool and stay positive. We must continue everything we are doing to keep the horses alive, ”says Manuella Séguin.
The virus does not spread to humans, allowing volunteers to safely care for animals.
As to the origin of the contamination, the owners of the farm believe it could have come from a horse that was purchased in January from a Toronto horse farm, but nothing has been confirmed as of yet.