Wednesday, May 18, 2011

EHV-1 Pay Attention!

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!


Grey Horse Matters said...

This doesn't sound good. But I'm sure with vigilance on everyone's part we will be able to deal with it and keep the infections down around our farms.

billie said...

The best overview I've read is here:

I'm not sure if you have to have a Facebook account to read this or not, but it's worth getting one to read it. It may be online elsewhere too.

We actually had a workshop a few years back with a local vet who went through this same information in great detail and b/c of her explanation we stopped annual flu-rhino shots. (and at that time we were hauling the pony all over the place to various shows, lessons, and pony club activities!) That talk was also the one that made me glad for our open trailer - she felt that taking horses to shows, etc. where they came into contact with new "germs" and then traveling home in enclosed trailers increased the exposure time and in effect intensified it.

In the Facebook piece, I love the discussion of integrative medicine and how it can be used to support the immune system via nutrition and alternative treatments. I think it's important to note that many of these kinds of diseases respond well to alternative treatments and classical homeopathy, which support the body instead of drugging the symptoms.

Okay - off my soapbox!! Thanks for the reminder. Knowledge is power... :)

Victoria Cummings said...

Arlene - I think you're right. If people use common sense and don't put their horses at risk, the situation can be contained.

Billie - Thanks for the link. It's a really good article -well worth reading. Interesting info about vaccines. I agree that supporting the immune system with good nutrition is critical to our horses' good health.