Ocala EHV-1: Additional Case Confirmed

Ocala EHV-1: Additional Case Confirmed

Photo: Peterson & Smith Equine Hospital

Veterinarians have confirmed an additional case of equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1) in connection with the Horse Shows in the Sun (HITS) circuit in Ocala, Fla., and one previously confirmed case has developed neurologic signs associated with the disease, according to a March 1 statement from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) Division of Animal Industry. There are now seven confirmed cases in connection with the HITS show, including the index (initial) case.

According to the FDACS statement, one EHV-1 positive horse is located at Redfield Farm in Ocala, one is located at Calder Farms in Ocala (the newly reported case), and four are from Miles Away Farm in Loxahatchee, Fla.

"One horse at Miles Away Farm developed neurological signs today and is being treated at the University of Florida (UF) College of Veterinary Medicine," the statement read.

On Feb. 21, a horse that was stabled at the HITS facility was diagnosed with the neurologic form of EHV-1. At last update on Feb. 25, that horse was undergoing treatment and in stable condition at the UF College of Veterinary Medicine's Large Animal Hospital.

Currently, the following facilities are under quarantine in connection with the EHV-1 outbreak, according to the FDACS statement:

  • HITS Showgrounds, Ocala - Entire facility
  • Up Country Farm/Synergy Farm, Ocala
  • Montera Farm, Ocala
  • Flutterby Farm, Ocala
  • Foxwood Farms, Pinellas Park
  • Black Forest Farm, St. Augustine
  • POD-F Farm (Littlewood Farm), Wellington
  • Brookmore Farm, Oviedo
  • Kings Ridge Farm, Reddick
  • Tequestrian Farm, Wellington
  • Redfield Farm, Ocala
  • Miles Away Farm, Loxahatchee
  • Calder Farms , Ocala

"Additional movement requirements or restrictions have not been imposed by Florida or any other states at this time," the statement noted. "We are advising horse owners and trainers to contact the venue of destination for any additional requirements prior to travel."

The FDACS recommended that owners or caretakers of horses that have shown at HITS since Feb. 5 closely monitor the animals, report any fevers greater than 101.5 to a veterinarian immediately, and adhere to strict biosecurity measures for at least 21 days after HITS departure date.

Although it's not transmissible to humans, EHV-1 is highly contagious among horses and camelids and 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 equids, 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 that potentially has been exposed to EHV-1 display any of the aforementioned clinical signs, call a veterinarian to obtain samples and test for the disease.

TheHorse.com will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available.

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, and enjoys photography in her spare time.

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