State veterinarian shuts down rodeo, practice for local rodeo team suspended

A high school rodeo in Clark County was canceled last week and Pahrump Valley High School rodeo director Buddy Krebs has suspended all rodeo practice involving horses due to two equine diseases, EVH-4 and equine distemper as a precaution.

The canceled rodeo was in Moapa Valley and was supposed to be their first high school rodeo in seven years. The state veterinarian, J.J. Goicoechea from the Nevada Department of Agriculture, recommended against holding the event until the disease outbreak is under control. He said the department of agriculture found evidence of the disease at a Boulder City High School rodeo a week before.

Dr. Adam Hadland, a local equine veterinarian practicing in Pahrump, explained the two diseases. He said EVH-4 is equine herpes and the other is equine distemper, commonly known as “strangles”. Both diseases are upper-respiratory diseases.

“The state vet will quarantine individual horses for about two weeks,” he said. “The disease is spread by contact and is airborne. And I would recommend the same as what the state vet is saying, avoid going to rodeos for a couple of weeks, and then get your horse its spring vaccinations. It is perfectly fine to ride on your own as long as you are not in contact with other horses.”

Dr. Hadland said the disease is not rare.

“I see it every year,” he said. “The diseases can kill horses but I have never seen a horse die from it. There are times that a horse can become a carrier and not show any symptoms.”

At the moment the state vet is just saying equine organizations and owners should err on the side of caution.

“There is no specific area under quarantine, but groups that have suspended competition and practice activities are doing the right thing by erring on the right side of caution based on the recent known exposure in Boulder City,” Dr. Goicoechea said. “We are closely monitoring the situation until this recent outbreak is under control.”

Contact sports editor Vern Hee at