One of the main attractions of Pasadena’s Tournament of Roses is the annual event known as Equestfest. The event was scheduled to take place at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center in Burbank but was canceled due to an outbreak of the equine herpes virus.
The event was scheduled to take place on December 30th. However, the officials in charge of decided to take a cautious approach in dealing with the equine herpes outbreak in order to ensure that the horses won’t contract the disease.
Brad Ratliff, the president of the Tournament of Roses, expressed his disappointment regarding the circumstances which have led to this situation but emphasized the fact that the well-being of the horses is the organization’s number one priority. As such, the clear and right course of action was easily discernable but it was hard to announce. The Equestfest event will not be rescheduled at all. Instead, all the horses which meant to perform will now take part in the Rose Parade being held on January 2nd.
The Los Angeles Equestrian Center has been under quarantine since November 3rd after two horses displayed signs of neurological complications. The started to exhibit symptoms after returning from a horse show held in Las Vegas for two days, between October 27 and 29. Unfortunately, one of the horses had to be euthanized because of the severity of the illness.
It was only later determined that the horses were affected by a non-neurotrophic strain of equine herpes. This less serious form of the virus only causes a respiratory infection and fever. However, it seems that the California Department of Food and Agriculture is more concerned with the spread of the neurotrophic strain. This form of the virus causes severe damage to the brain and spinal cord of the horse.
The health officials decided to keep the center in quarantine until they can establish the spread of the virus on the grounds of the center and its specific form. Until now, 13 horses have contracted the less dangerous form of equine herpes, out of which none were euthanized.
What do you think about this equine herpes outbreak? Were you looking forward to the annual Equestfest event?
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