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Horse removed from quarantine at Los Angeles Equestrian Center tests positive for virus

A horse that was stabled at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center in Burbank tested positive for equine herpesvirus after its owner violated a quarantine placed on the facility by the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

On Nov. 23, the state agency reported that one horse that was removed from the center showed mild signs of the disease's rare neurological form, but lab tests later determined it to be the non-neuropathogenic herpesvirus, a more common and usually non-lethal form of the disease.

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The owner, who was not named, had trailered the horse to their home, which was in violation of the quarantine that the Department of Food and Agriculture had placed on the equestrian center since Nov. 3, when two saddlebreds were diagnosed with the neurological form of the disease, one of which had to be euthanized for humane reasons.

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The home to where the horse was taken has also been placed under quarantine, according to the Department of Food and Agriculture.

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FOR THE RECORD

11/30, 11:02 a.m.: A previous version of this story included a file photo of a horse. The caption for the photo did not specify that the horse was not part of the quarantine. The photo was, in fact, taken Monday, July 27, 2015.

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There are currently nine horses under quarantine at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center.

Kent Fowler, the animal health branch chief for the Department of Food and Agriculture, wrote in an email Tuesday that the state has launched an investigation "with potential legal ramifications" into the owner who violated the quarantine.

"We intend to pursue this violation to the full extent of our quarantine authority laws," he wrote.

The Department of Food and Agriculture expects to lift the quarantine at the Burbank facility by Dec. 6, as long as there are no new cases of equine herpesvirus.

Equine herpesvirus was found at the facility earlier this month after eight horses returned from a horse show held in Las Vegas Oct. 27 through 29.

The disease is a common illness in horses that usually affects the animal's respiratory system. However, the state agency becomes involved if the disease is found to be equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy, a rare neurological form of the illness.

Humans are not at risk of becoming infected with the equine herpesvirus.

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Anthony Clark Carpio, anthonyclark.carpio@latimes.com

Twitter: @acocarpio

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