Racing continues at Parx Racetrack despite the EHV-1 quarantine. Photo by EquiPhoto.com
A horse was euthanized Saturday at a New Jersey equine clinic after testing positive for the neuropathogenic strain of the equine herpes virus (EHV-1). The horse showed clinical signs of equine herpes myeloencephalopathy (EHM), while at Parx Racetrack in Bensalem, PA.
Officials say Parx is under quarantine for 28 days. If any other horses test positive, the quarantine period starts over. No horses stabled on the grounds can leave until the quarantine is lifted. Racing continues during the period.
Symptoms that should alert horse owners to the possibility of a neurologic EHV-1 infection include fever of over 102 degrees, weakness, incoordination, and urine dribbling or the inability to urinate. Horses with these symptoms should be examined immediately by a veterinarian.
EHV-1 can be spread through various methods. Direct, horse-to-horse contact is a common route of transmission, but indirect transmission is also possible. This occurs when infectious materials are carried between infected and non-infected horses by people or inanimate objects such as buckets, tack, or trailers. Aerosol transmission can also occur when infectious droplets are inhaled. The source of infectious droplets is most often respiratory secretions.
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.
There is no vaccine currently on the market that has a label for prevention of the neurologic form of EHV-1.