Friday, May 20, 2011

Horse Health Warning - Equine HerpesVirus (EHV-1) Alert

Equine Herpesvirus (EHV-1) is in the news recently with an outbreak at a Utah Cutting Horse Competition. This outbreak caused in closures or postponements of other competitions. EHV-1 is highly contagious and can result in severe respiratory problems; abortion in mares; neurological disorders such as incontinence, ataxia or uncoordination, and fever. Even paralysis usually of the hind limbs.

EHV-1 spreads in the form of horse to horse contact. It is thought that it can spread from aerosol form, sneezing, but not over long distances, so quarantine of suspected cases or separation between horses of 100 yards should be sufficient protection. However, the virus can reportedly survive on inert objects like shedding blades, brushes and the like, so care should be taken not to use the same tools on affected and non-effected horses.

There is no vaccine for EHV-1, although there is a prototype being tested in the Infections and Infestations class of medicines and vaccines which includes anti-fungals, anti-virals, and anti-parasitics.

In 2006, there was an outbreak in Florida of EHV-1 which was thought to have originated from horses imported from Europe.

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