Initial Test Negative in Possible EHV-1 Case

Initial Test Negative in Possible EHV-1 Case

Myeloencephalopathy is characterized by fever, ataxia (incoordination), weakness or paralysis of the hind limbs, and incontinence.

Photo: Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief

Maryland horsemen are breathing a little easier after a preliminary test for equine herpesvirus (EHV-1) on a horse euthanized at Bowie Training Center came back negative.

The suspected EHV-1 case caused officials at the Maryland Jockey Club (MJC) to place a "hold order" on Barn 16 at the Bowie Training Center, in Bowie, as a precautionary measure. MJC racing secretary Georganne Hale said the hold order remains in place until the situation has been rectified.

To follow up on the initial test, the sample will be sent to a laboratory in Lexington, Ky., for confirmation. That result should be available Tuesday (Sept. 24) evening or Wednesday (Sept. 25) morning.

The hold order affects Barn 16, which houses horses trained by Annette Eubanks, Bobby Lee Plummer, and Patrick Magill. Horses conditioned by those trainers are not allowed into or out of the barn until given clearance by the Maryland Department of Agriculture, according to the MJC. There will be 24-hour security outside the barn, and anyone leaving the barn needs to change their clothes and disinfect their feet.

Although it's not transmissible to humans, EHV-1 is highly contagious among horses and camelids and is generally passed from horse to horse via aerosol transmission (when affected animals sneeze/cough) and contact with nasal secretions on objects such as feed buckets, grooming supplies, humans, and other infected animals. The disease can cause a variety of ailments in equids, including rhinopneumonitis (a respiratory disease usually found in young horses), abortion in broodmares, and myeloencephalopathy (EHM, the neurologic form).

Myeloencephalopathy is characterized by fever, ataxia (incoordination), weakness or paralysis of the hind limbs, and incontinence. Should a horse that potentially has been exposed to EHV-1 display any of the aforementioned clinical signs, call a veterinarian to obtain samples and test for the disease.

According to an MJC advisory, it is recommended horsemen maintain appropriate vaccination procedures in an attempt to reduce the incidence of the respiratory form of EHV-1 infection.

Originally published on

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