WCVM Large Animal Clinic Reopens to All Patients

The University of Saskatchewan's Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) Large Animal Clinic has reopened its doors to all patients after a brief closure to non-emergency patients. The restriction was prompted by the admission of a horse that later tested positive for the neurologic form of equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1).

According to a press release issued by the WCVM, "Veterinarians reopened the clinic's doors to horses at 8:00 a.m. on June 29 after multiple clinical examinations and diagnostic tests confirmed that there was no spread of EHV-1 among horses at the veterinary college.

"The WCVM voluntarily suspended its equine clinical services on June 21 following the confirmed diagnosis of EHV-1 in a Saskatoon-area horse that was brought to the clinic on June 18," the release continued. "The horse was humanely euthanized on June 19 due to the severity of the disease. Diagnostic testing confirmed that the horse had the neurologic form of EHV-1, also called equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy."

The release indicated that clinicians have been "monitoring the health of nearly two dozen horses housed in or outside the veterinary college's clinic. None of these horses have shown clinical signs of the disease, and all diagnostic tests are negative for EHV-1 infection."

The release stated that the horse's home farm has been voluntarily quarantined as a precaution; however, all other equine residents have thus far shown no clinical signs of EHV-1.

Although it's not transmissible to humans, EHV-1 is highly contagious among horses and camelids, and it 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 equines, 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.

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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