Equine Herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1) Neurological Disease

There have been at least 2 reported outbreaks of EHV-1 neurological disease in racing Thoroughbreds in 2017. The first occurred in Pau, France, in April, where 2 horses were euthanased and 27 horses were affected. The disease was limited to one barn with no spread to other barns.

In June, the BHA reported an outbreak of EHV-1 neurological disease in a Thoroughbred yard in the UK. The ICC reported, “On 31st May 2017…a case of EHV-1 neurological disease affecting a non-vaccinated, 4-year-old Thoroughbred gelding on a racing premises in Yorkshire, England. The affected animal presented with hind limb oedema, pyrexia and loss of vision and was subsequently euthanased”.

Appropriate biosecurity measures, in accordance with the HBLB Codes of Practice, were implemented. Restrictions on part of the premises were lifted following appropriate laboratory tests.

EHV-1 neurological disease presents with a variety of neurological signs including, ataxia, paresis, recumbency, head pressing, depression, hyperaesthesia, decreased tail and anal tone, urinary incontinence. Other signs include, fever, inappetence and limb oedema. The disease may follow respiratory disease.

If EHV-1 neurological disease is suspected:-

− Seek veterinary advice immediately
− Stop all movement on and off the premises immediately until EHV-1 neurological disease has been ruled out or confirmed. The most effective sampling for EHV involves:-
o Two clotted samples taken at 10-14 day intervals for antibody levels.
o Blood samples in heparin or EDTA for virus isolation.
o Nasopharyngeal swabs for PCR testing.

BE ALERT AND IF IN DOUBT CONTACT YOUR VETERINARY SURGEON…!

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