EHV-1 Confirmed in Devon and Warwickshire, England

The Animal Health Trust (AHT) reported yesterday (July 4) that horses residing on two English premises—one in Devon and one in Warwickshire—have tested positive for equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1).

"We believe there is an epidemiological link between the cases as the mare affected in Warwickshire had moved from the Devon premises 16 days before diagnosis," the AHT said in a statement on its website. "Vets and scientists from the AHT are continuing to work with horse owners and vets in the local areas to bring the outbreaks under control."

A report on the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) website indicated that two Thoroughbred mares at the Devon property tested positive for the neurologic form of the disease after becoming recumbent on June 28. The mares were subsequently euthanized, the report said.

The BEVA report indicated that two additional mares residing at the Devon property became ataxic (incoordinated), but are responding to treatment.

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. 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 (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.

About the Author

Erica Larson, News Editor

Erica Larson, news editor, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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