EHV-1 Positive Pony in Kentucky; Not Mutant Strain

A 7-year-old Paint pony gelding in Scott County, Ky., has tested positive for equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1) on PCR (polymerase chain reaction test) and has neurologic signs, according to a statement from the Kentucky State Veterinarian's office. The pony has the "wild strain" of EHV-1, not the mutated strain that is more virulent.

The pony was ridden and fine on Saturday (Nov. 15) and had a normal temperature and acted normally Sunday morning, then that afternoon was thought to be "cast" in his stall. When he was gotten up, he showed neurologic signs. The veterinarian was called and tests showed the pony was EHV-1 positive.

The pony, which arrived on the farm Oct. 3 from Michigan, can get up and down by itself and had better tail tone today (Nov. 19). He is expected to make a full recovery.

Preliminary tests on selected other horses in the pony's barn showed one horse had a positive nasal swab, but no horses in the barn had clinical signs of herpesvirus. All 24 horses in the barn will be tested tomorrow (Nov. 20) to determine exposure to EHV-1.

The farm, Caddel Equine Therapy Center, is under state quarantine until test results are completed, and no horses have moved from the facility. Because of the type of operation, a post-hospital lay-up farm, all horses have temperatures checked twice a day and the farm is operated under strict biosecurity standards on a day-to-day basis.

Operator Linda Caddel said another barn on the property that houses broodmares has no direct or indirect association with the horses in the hospital barn. All equipment and personnel are separate because of standard biosecurity measures in place on the farm.

The pony and the one horse that had a preliminary positive nasal swab will be maintained in a separate quarantine barn on the property until all horses are cleared.

Rusty Ford, of the Kentucky State Veterinarian's office, said because high biosecurity is standard on the farm he feels there is little risk of spread off the farm or to the other barn.

For more information on equine herpesvirus see Equine Herpesvirus Special Report.

About the Author

Kimberly S. Brown

Kimberly S. Brown was the Publisher/Editor of The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care from June 2008 to March 2010, and she served in various positions at Blood-Horse Publications since 1980.

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