Kentucky Lab to Offer Equine Rhinitis Type A Virus Testing

Lexington, Ky.-based Equine Diagnostic Solutions (EDS) has begun testing for equine rhinitis A virus (ERAV) using a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing method. EDS is now one of four labs in the United States offering this test, along with IDEXX Laboratories; the University of California (UC), Davis; and Cornell University.

“ERAV should be something every veterinarian includes in differential diagnosis when it comes to respiratory disease,” said Rob Keene, DVM, field equine technical manager for Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. “But it isn’t a disease that is necessarily at the forefront of practitioners’ minds in the United States.”

ERAV is an often-overlooked causative agent of respiratory diseases in horses. It affects both upper and lower airways, and veterinarians believe it could be spread by contact through nasal secretions and aerosol inhalation. ERAV has been isolated from Thoroughbred horses with acute respiratory disease in the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, and Europe, and is thought to contribute to disease in these regions. In a recent study of U.S. horses, 44% of those sampled exhibited serum-neutralizing antibodies (specific antibodies in the blood that recognize an agent such as ERAV) to ERAV. In the same study, seroprevalence increased with age, with 9% of yearlings and 38% of 2-year-olds testing seropositive to ERAV.

With an increasing number of labs offering ERAV diagnostics as part of expanded respiratory panels, the hope is to increase awareness of ERAV in the United States.

“We decided to add the test due to demand from our customers,” said Dr. Jennifer Morrow, PhD, co-owner and lead scientist at EDS. “Really, it was a natural addition based on the requests we were receiving.”

ERAV can be identified through both PCR testing of nasal swabs and urine (which demonstrates ERAV viral RNA present in the horse) and through serologic testing (which shows antibodies to the disease). Serologic testing is only available at Cornell University.

“Having more laboratories making an effort to expand PCR testing for other diseases makes the diagnostic process that much more complete for the practitioner,” added Keene. “Owners are paying for answers and we are very proud to have such highly technological labs like EDS, IDEXX, UC Davis, and Cornell offering such testing.”

Nasal swabs and urine are the primary samples used for PCR testing. For questions related to testing or diagnosis please contact your preferred laboratory or Boehringer Ingelheim technical services at 866/638-2226.

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