EHV Confirmed in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Horse

EHV Confirmed in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Horse

In many horses, fever is the only sign of EHV-1 infection, which can go undetected.

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

The Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) has reported a new case of equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1) in a horse in Pennsylvania.

“The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture confirmed a case of equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy (EHM) by RRT-PCR testing (wild-type virus),” a June 7 update from the EDCC said. “The horse resided at a very small private barn in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Although the investigation is ongoing, it appears there are very few horses with known or potential exposures to this horse. Quarantine of exposed or potentially exposed horses with monitoring of temperatures and clinical status has been implemented and will continue for a minimum of 21 days.”

Herpesvirus is highly contagious among horses and can cause a variety of ailments in equids, including rhinopneumonitis (a respiratory disease usually found in young horses), abortion in broodmares, and EHM (the neurologic form). In many horses, fever is the only sign of EHV-1 infection, which can go undetected.

Health Alert: Equine Herpesvirus

In addition to fever, other common signs of EHV-1 infection in young horses include cough, decreased appetite, depression, and a nasal discharge. Pregnant mares typically show no signs of infection before they abort, and abortions usually occur late in gestation (around eight months), but can be earlier. Abortions can occur anywhere from two weeks to several months following infection with EHV-1.

Horses with the neurologic form usually have a fever at the onset of the disease and might show signs of a respiratory infection. A few days later, neurologic signs such as ataxia (incoordination), weakness or paralysis of the fore- and hind limbs, urine retention and dribbling, loss of tail tone, and recumbency (inability to rise) develop.

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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