Oklahoma’s state veterinarian confirms a horse has tested positive for equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy (EHM), a neurological disease caused by EHV-1. The horse is being treated at OSU Veterinary Medical Hospital.
Oklahoma State Veterinarian Rod Hall, DVM tells Rate My Horse PRO the horse participated in “some rodeo events” prior to becoming severely ill for three weeks prior to exhibiting any neurologic signs.
The horse’s local vet cared for the horse at a Lincoln County farm for two weeks prior to its transfer to the hospital. “We believe the length of time prior to neurologic sign development precludes its previous movements from being pertinent to the case,” Dr. Hall stated.
A release from OSU Veterinary Medical Hospital states five other horses have been quarantined. The equine barn is currently closed for biocontainment.
Dr. Hall says no other horses are showing signs of the neurological disease and all horses tested have had negative test results.
“There is no solid evidence, but we believe a good vaccination regimen against Equine Herpesvirus as well as other equine diseases is one way to help prevent infections,” says Dr. Hall. “Good care which includes proper feeding, anti-parasite treatments, and other good husbandry practices help keep horses healthy and help their immune system fight off disease.”
The EHV-1 vaccine does not protect against the neurological infection. Symptoms that should alert horse owners to the possibility of neurologic EHV-1 infection include fever, weakness, incoordination, and urine dribbling or inability to urinate. Horses with these symptoms should be examined immediately by a veterinarian.
Dr. Hall also recommends establishing a good relationship with a local veterinarian that can help develop a good preventative program and can assist in the early care of any sick animals.
EHV-1 is highly contagious to horses. Suspect horses should be isolated from healthy horses. Veterinarians recommend using proper biosecurity measures when attending equine events to help protect your horses from the potential spread of any illness:
· Limit horse-to-horse contact.
· Limit horse-to-human-to-horse contact.
· Avoid use of communal water sources.
· Avoid sharing of equipment unless thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between uses.
· Monitor your horse for clinical signs of disease and report any temperature over 102°F to a veterinarian.
This is the first case of the disease in Oklahoma this year. It is not believed to be connected to any other cases, according to Dr. Hall.