Filly with EHV-1 stands with help. Photo: Stephen M. Reed, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM.
Wyoming state veterinarians have confirmed two cases of the neurologic form of Equine Herpes Virus Type 1 (EHV-1). Livestock Board staff veterinarians say a total of seven horses are affected and one was euthanized.
Staff veterinarians say the two neurological cases, located in Teton County and Park County are unrelated. The remaining infected and exposed horses are under quarantine and no new cases have been reported.
According to Wyoming state veterinarian, Jim Logan, the state has seen previous cases of EHV-1 in past years. There was a major outbreak of it nationally in 2011.
“This is not a new disease,” added Thach Winslow, assistant state field veterinarian. “The risk for EHV-1 is always there because carrier horses cannot be identified. There is not a vaccine that is always effective in preventing the neurologic form of the disease, so the best prevention is good biosecurity.”
Logan advises horse owners to be vigilant of their animals and try to prevent nose-to-nose contact with new horses as nasal secretions can be a main source of transmission. They should also make sure their horses are not sharing water buckets and feed troughs.
EHV-1 is a serious viral disease that can be spread through aerosol transmission. It is highly contagious, but the neurological form is rare. It appears suddenly and usually progresses rapidly. Symptoms include fever, decreased coordination, nasal discharge, urine dribbling, loss of tail tone, hind limb weakness, leaning against a wall or fence to maintain balance, lethargy, and the inability to rise. While there is no cure, the symptoms of the disease may be treatable.
If your horse develops fever, respiratory and/or neurological signs, officials say to immediately notify your veterinarian.