11 Jan 2014

Breaking News – EHV1 Outbreak in Wake County

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As many of you may have heard, there has been an outbreak of the EHV1 – Equine Herpes Virus 1 – in Northern Wake County, which has unfortunately had devastating results.

This is not a new disease. I remember we were fighting this problem some 35 years ago as well. To speak unscientifically, and as plainly as possible, EHV1 often shows up out of nowhere, claims a few victims, and then disappears back to nowhere. This may seem a gross oversimplification but that is about it. We very often don’t know where it came from or why it goes away.

There does appear to be some help available that will often limit the severity of the disease in an affected animal as well as the amount of viral shedding, or contagiousness. If an infected horse has been vaccinated with the Pneumabort K vaccine, prior to exposure it can be beneficial in preventing the worst outcome. For this reason I advise, and highly recommend doing so. Administer this vaccine to your horse(s) as soon as an outbreak is known of in your area.

Much like Shingles Virus in humans, if a person has been vaccinated they might still contract the disease but generally in a much less severe form.

Limited movement of horses in or out of your facilities is also recommended until two to three weeks beyond the reporting of any new cases. Any attempts toward sanitation of barns, trailers, tack, etc. are probably wise, though difficult to institute.

I have had several calls from people asking if the vaccination/quarantine program is really necessary and important. My response is that it is only very important when the virus has reached your barn, your horse.

EHV1 normally presents with high fever, runny nose, bloodshot eyes & cough. It will proceed to a neurological form with the horse becomes unsteady, particularly in the rear, and incontinent. The most severe cases with hind quarter paralysis.

Please do not hesitate to call our office if you have any questions concerning this topic.

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