News Bulletin: EHV-1 Outbreak
May 17, 2011
An outbreak of equine herpesvirus (EHV-1) leading to neurologic disease has been identified at farms across the U.S. This particular form of herpes can cause symptoms of lethargy, fever, nasal discharge, incoordination, recumbency, and death. EHV-1 can spread quickly from horse to horse via aerosol transmission and contaminated objects.
The initial case appears to be a cutting horse show in Utah held in early May. The outbreak has subsequently spread to other areas of the country, causing cancellation of many horse shows in the western U.S. If you are planning on traveling to any show, rodeo, fairground, etc this summer, Conley and Koontz veterinarians highly recommend that your horse is vaccinated against EHV-1 every 60 days.
Though no vaccine is 100% effective in preventing the neurologic form of the disease, current vaccination research and experts in equine medicine believe the risk of viral shedding is decreased in herds of vaccinated horses. Therefore, regular vaccination is very important. EHV-1 is a form of equine herpesvirus, also known as rhinopneumonitis.
Horses at highest risk include horses; at training barns, at boarding barns, that attend shows, that go to breeding farms, or that attend the 4-H fair. If your horse will be exposed to other horses or exposed to horses that have been exposed to strange horses this year; your horse should be vaccinated for EHV-1 every 60 days.