Resource for info on EHV-1
For the most current info on the recent outbreak of the Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy (EHV-1) Virus:
American Veterinary Medical Association – A list of State Veterinarians to contact for current information on state border closures, cases reported and advice on the outbreak according to your state’s cases.
Equine Chronicle – News on show cancellations and national information on the outbreak.
USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) – Information on previous outbreaks of the EHV-1 virus.
The most important thing to remember as a horse owner is that it is your responsibility to use common sense and go to reliable sources for information rather than relying on rumor or social media posts from individuals that can not be substantiated.
Social media can be a powerful way to receive up to the minute information but make sure the source is a veterinarian or an organization that is fact checking before posting information.
If your horse travels to competitions, has possibly been exposed to the virus or resides at a facility with horses being hauled to and from, you can take a proactive approach in prevention. Ask your vet about EqStim (an immune booster) or Zylexis and feed an immune boosting supplement such as:
These supplements have been combined in a Neuro Kit by DePaolo Equine Concepts and can be used to treat the disease as well. Also, ABC’s EPM Supplement can be used to treat horses with EHV-1 or other neurologic diseases. Dr. DePaolo also believes that horses infected with the disease should be treated with IV ozone as soon as symptoms are detected.
Remember that the best defense in a good offense – a healthy immune system!
The recent outbreak of EHV-1 has been traced to horses who exhibited at the National Cutting Horse Association’s Western National Championships in Ogden, Utah on April 20-May 8, 2011. Horses that participated in this event may have been exposed to the EHV-1 virus.
The EHV-1 virus can spread quickly from horse to horse so if you think your horse has possibly been exposed to the EHV-1 virus, watch your horse for clinical signs of the disease such as:
- High temperature
- Hind end weakness
- Gait abnormalities
- Trouble rising
- Nasal discharge
The EHV-1 disease can be spread through:
- Horse to horse contact
- Airborne fluids
- Contaminated human hands
It is very important to understand that there is no specific treatment for EHV-1 and there are NO EQUINE VACCINES that protect against this neurological strain of the virus. In fact, vaccinating your horse for the EHV-4 strain of the disease (which is arespiratory form of the disease) might in fact compromise your horse’s immune system therefore making them MORE susceptible to the neurologic strain.
The most important steps in preventing the spread of EVH-1 are:
- Limit your horse’s contact with other horses who may have been exposed to the disease or whose history is unknown
- Do not share tack, buckets or grooming tools with unfamiliar horses
- Do not let your horse rub noses with other horses
- After handling a horse wash your hands before handling, touching or petting another horse
- Abide by all quarantines when traveling in or out of an area infected with neurologic EHV-1
For more information on healthy vaccination protocol please visit the DePaolo Equine Concepts Health Library.