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Horse owner alert: Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1)
Health risk to horses from dangerous virus; Avoid co-mingling
by State of Montana Department of Livestock
May 19, 2011

MEMO: Equine Health Alert - Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) Myeloencephalopathy
FROM: Marty Zaluski, DVM, Montana State Veterinarian
TO: Horse Owners who Attended the Western National Championships in Ogden, Utah, April 30 - May 8 and Montana Deputy Veterinarians

The National Cutting Horse Association has notified members attending the Western National Championships in Ogden, Utah on April 30 - May 8, 2011, of possible exposure to the severe neurologic form of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1). Confirmed and suspected cases have been found in Utah, Colorado, Idaho and other states. Montana horses which traveled to this event, or are stabled with horses that traveled to this event may have been exposed to this severe strain of EHV-1.

Owners of horses who participated in the Ogden, Utah event should notify their veterinarian and isolate and monitor their horses for clinical signs of disease. Strict horse and barn biosecurity should be implemented immediately.

Since a rectal temperature above 102F usually precedes other clinical signs, it is recommended that temperatures of individual horse(s) be taken twice a day. If a temperature above 102F is detected in a horse that attended this event, owners, trainers and veterinarians should institute and enforce a "no movement" policy for your premises or facility to help stop the spread of this virus. No outside horses should be allowed on to the premises and all resident equines should not travel off the premises for 28 days after the last fever or case of EHV-1 is identified. Visitors and service people should be limited to only what is absolutely necessary.

The EHV-1 organism spreads quickly and the neurologic form of the virus can reach high morbidity (sick) and mortality (death) rates. The incubation period (time of exposure to illness) of EHV©\1 is typically 2-14 days. Horses with severe clinical signs of neurological EHV-1 illness have large viral loads in their blood and nasal secretions, may shed virus for as long as 28 days if they survive, and are thought to present the greatest danger for spreading the disease.

Clinical signs may include nasal discharge, incoordination, hind-end weakness, recumbency, lethargy, urine dribbling and diminished tail tone. There is no specific treatment for EHV-1. Treatment may include intravenous fluids, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral drugs and other appropriate supportive treatment. Currently, there is no equine vaccine that has a label claim for protection against the neurological strain of the virus. Laboratory submission of nasal swabs and blood samples collected from horses suspected to be affected can be utilized for virus detection and isolation.

The disease is not transmittable to humans.

This virus is easily spread by aerosol (airborne) transmission, horse-to-horse contact and contact with nasal secretions on equipment, tack, feed and other surfaces. People can spread the virus by means of contaminated hands, clothing, shoes and vehicles.

Immediate separation and isolation of suspected cases and implementation of appropriate biosecurity measures are key elements for disease control. Strongly consider implementing these Best Practices.
- Separate any sick horses from healthy
- People working with sick horses should not work with healthy animals. If this is not practical,
work sick horses last. Wash hands and boots and change clothing between animals
- Use clean equipment and do not share tools and tack between horses without disinfecting
- Separate traveling horses from the resident herd for 3 weeks after travel
- Consult with your veterinarian with any questions.

Links to EHV-1 information are provided below:
- A Guide To Understanding the Neurologic Form of EHV Infection
- USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service Resources
- AAEP Biosecurity©\general instructions.pdf

EHV-1 is a Notifiable Disease to the State Veterinarian in Montana. Any person suspecting or confirming a case of EHV-1 should call our office at (406) 444-2043.

Marty Zaluski, DVM

Source: http://liv.mt.gov/news/2011/20110517.pdf (May 15, 2011)

Related Links
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