HIGH RIVER — An annual rodeo event in High River, Alta., has been cancelled due to an outbreak of a respiratory virus that affects horses.
The Little Britches Rodeo was originally scheduled to be held on Monday.
However, the High River Agriculture Society says it’s closing its facility for the next 21 days due to an outbreak of the equine herpes virus, or EHV-1.
The disease poses no threat to humans but is extremely contagious among horses, alpacas and llamas.
It’s the first cancellation in the event’s 53-year history.
Events have also been cancelled in Strathmore, Okotoks and Nanton.
The society says it’s only a precautionary measure and as of Wednesday, the facility had no confirmed cases of the EHV-1 virus.
Equine veterinarians have confirmed one case of the virus in Alberta. That horse has not been quarantined and is being treated with antibiotics.
Two horses that were in contact with the infected animal don’t appear to have contracted the virus. Two other horses have a mild temperature and are still being tested.
The virus can be airborne and transmit by touch or by sharing feed, brushes, bits and other equipment.
Infected animals usually get sick between two and 14 days after they are exposed to the virus. Symptoms include fever sneezing, staggering and partial paralysis.
In some cases, the virus can also be fatal.