I was going to write about something else, but I think that it's more important to spread the word right now about the outbreak of EHV-I in the western part of the United States. The disease, Equine Herpesvirus, which can also be referred to as Rhinopneumonitis, has also been diagnosed in New Jersey and Colorado. The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) issued a statement:
"The EHV-1 organism spreads quickly from horse to horse but typically only causes neurological disease sporadically. However, in an outbreak of EHV-1 neurologic such as we are experiencing now, the disease can reach high morbidity and case fatality rates. The incubation period of EHV-1 infection is typically 1-2-days, with clinical signs of fever then occurring, often in a biphasic fever, over the following 10 days.
When neurological disease occurs it is typically 8-12 days after the primary infection, starting often after the second fever spike. In horses infected with the neurologic strain of EHV-1, clinical signs may include: nasal discharge, incoordination, hind end weakness, recumbency, lethargy, urine dribbling and diminished tail tone. Prognosis depends on severity of signs and the period of recumbency.
There is no specific treatment for EHV-1, although antiviral drugs (i.e. valacyclovire) may have some value before neurological signs occur. Non-specific treatment may include intravenous fluids, and other appropriate supportive therapy; the use of anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) is strongly recommended. Currently, there is no equine vaccine that has a label claim for protection against the neurological strain of the virus."
Our friend Mikey in Arizona has posted a very good message regarding safety issues and links for more information. Please pay attention and check it out. Let's all take the precautions that we need to keep our horses safe!