Florida EHV-1: One Farm Released from Quarantine

Florida EHV-1: One Farm Released from Quarantine

Photo: Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief

A farm in Wellington, Fla., where a horse had tested positive for equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1) has been released from quarantine, according to a March 4 statement from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS). Meanwhile, the EHV-1 case count in Ocala, Fla., is holding steady at seven.

In Wellington, noted the FDACS statement, Tequestrian Farm "was initially quarantined due a horse testing positive for EHV-1. This horse was imported from another state and isolated at the farm on arrival. No connection was made between this horse and the HITS Showground EHV-1 cases. The horse never developed neurologic signs and the quarantine was released after fourteen days with no evidence of transmission, no clinical signs on the farm, and all horses testing negative on the premises."

In Ocala, Fla., seven horses connected to the Horse Shows in the Sun (HITS) circuit have tested positive for EHV-1, two of which developed neurologic signs in connection with the disease.

The Ocala index horse tested positive for the disease on Feb. 21. That horse had previously been stabled at the HITS facility and was diagnosed with wild-type EHV-1. The March 4 FDACS statement indicates that horse is in stable condition at the University of Florida (UF) College of Veterinary Medicine's Large Animal Hospital.

Subsequently, six additional horses that are linked to the HITS Show in Ocala tested positive for the wild-type EHV-1:

  • One horse is located at Redfield Farm, in Ocala;
  • Four horses are from Miles Away Farm, in Loxahatchee, Fla. One of the positive horses located at Miles Away Farm developed neurologic signs and is being treated at UF; and
  • One horse that is linked to the HITS showgrounds but has no clinical signs of the disease has tested positive for EHV-1 and is located at Calder Farms, in Ocala. That horse continues to remain clinically healthy with no signs of EHV-1 infection.

The entire HITS showgrounds remains under quarantine. According to the FDACS statement, the following facilities are also under quarantine in connection to the EHV-1 outbreak:

  • 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
  • Redfield Farm, Ocala
  • Miles Away Farm, Loxahatchee
  • Calder Farms, Ocala
  • Hard Ford Farm, Reddick
  • Chestnut Hill Farm, Ocala

According to the FDACS statement, California has bolstered import requirements. Currently, "requirements include a negative test for equine infectious anemia, obtained within the six months before date of entry, and a certificate of veterinary inspection (CVI) with a body temperature recorded for each horse in the shipment. Accredited veterinarians preparing CVIs are responsible for fulfillment of the temperature recording requirement."

The FDACS is "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 eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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