UT EHV-1: No New Cases; Informational Forum Scheduled

No new cases of equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1) have been confirmed at the University of Tennessee (UT) Veterinary Medical Center after an EHV-1 positive horse was admitted and euthanized last Thursday (Sept. 15), according to a statement on the center's website. School officials have, however, scheduled an informational forum to be held Sept. 21.

"On Sept. 15 a down (recumbent) horse was brought to the Equine Hospital at the UT Veterinary Medical Center at 2:00 p.m.," a statement from the hospital read. "The horse was kept in a separate area of the equine hospital. Within hours the horse's condition deteriorated, and the animal was euthanized."

"Our laboratory and an outside independent laboratory have both confirmed that the index horse that was euthanized within hours of being admitted was positive for the neurotrophic (neurologic) form of EHV-1," said Sandra Harbison, media relations director for UT College of Veterinary Medicine.

The hospital is currently in the midst of a seven-day quarantine implemented by the Tennessee State Veterinarian and a self-imposed 14-day quarantine, both of which began on Sept. 16.

Since the index case was confirmed, no additional positive tests have been yielded by horses residing in the hospital, according to a statement release by the hospital today (Sept. 20).

Meanwhile, school officials have scheduled an informational forum for concerned individuals. Final details are still being confirmed; however, the session is currently scheduled for Sept. 21 at 7:00 p.m. The session will be webcast and archived, the hospital's website noted.

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. Should a horse with potential EHV-1 exposure display any of the aforementioned clinical signs, a veterinarian should be called to obtain samples and test for the disease.

Individuals with questions on the UT quarantine are asked to call 865/974-8387.

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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