Tennessee EHV-1: No New Cases Reported

No new cases of the neurologic form of equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1) have been reported at the University of Tennessee Veterinary Medical Center (UTVMC) or the index property (The Dixie Stampede, located in Pigeon Forge) since Sept. 21, according to a statement from the UTVMC.

The index case was admitted to the UTVMC on Sept. 15 and was euthanized within hours of admission due to the progression of clinical signs. An independent laboratory along with the UTVMC laboratory confirmed the mare was positive for neurologic EHV-1.

On Sept. 21, five additional horses residing on the index premises tested positive for EHV-1. The animals were not admitted to the UTVMC, but rather isolated at their home facility.

On Sept. 26 the UTVMC reported that no further cases had been confirmed at either location.

"The entire herd (at the index premises) continues to be monitored by taking temperatures twice a day in order to identify, isolate, and test suspect cases," a UTVMC statement said. "The five confirmed cases of EHV-1 remain in stable condition.

"To our knowledge, no horses in our area outside of the index premise have tested positive for EHV-1," the statement continued. "For the welfare of the horse population, horse owners and those who work with horses should, as always, be vigilant and continue to practice standard biosecurity precautions such as strict hand hygiene and not sharing buckets or equipment between horses."

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.

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 three-day eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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