A case of Neurologic Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) was recently reported in Maine. EHV-1 is one of the most common strains of equine herpes virus and is known to cause respiratory disease, as well as outbreaks of abortions and neurologic disease.
EHV-1 is usually spread through coughing or sneezing. Direct horse-to-horse contact, as well as contact with contaminated feed, equipment, clothing and tack, can also spread the disease. In addition, once a horse is infected, the virus can become latent for the rest of the horse’s life. Then, often during times of stress, the virus emerges and the horse begins silently shedding, which puts other horses at risk for infection.
Given that there is no vaccine to protect against the neurologic form of EHV-1, taking appropriate biosecurity measures can help prevent exposure the spread of the disease.
Preventive measures include:
- Don’t share tack,
- Clean and disinfect your horse trailer after transporting horses other than your own,
- Provide appropriate food, water and shelter to minimize stress on your horses,
- Quarantine new horses for at least 30 days before introducing them to your existing herd, and
If your horse exhibits any neurologic signs, contact your veterinarian immediately.