Texas officials say two horses have been confirmed positive for the neuropathogenic strain of equine herpesvirus (EHV-1).
The Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) states the first horse showed signs of respiratory illness on January 24th. Before the horse was euthanized, some changes in behavior were noticed, but the horse did not present with neurologic symptoms.
A second horse, at another location, had a fever and respiratory symptoms. The horse is being monitored by a veterinarian. The horses’ stables are located in Galveston County and both farms are under quarantine.
Officials say these cases are not related to the Texas team roping horse confirmed with EHV-1 last month.
The neurological strain is also called equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy (EHM). It is the mutant form of EVH-1. There is no vaccine currently on the market that has a label for prevention of the neurologic form of the disease.
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.
Symptoms may include respiratory disease, abortion, and intermittent outbreaks of neurologic disease in horses. 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.
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.
EHV-1 is highly contagious among horses, but poses no threat to humans.
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