A Wisconsin horse has been euthanized after testing positive for equine herpevirus (EHV-1), according to the state veterinarian. Two other horses located at the Dane County boarding and training stable have also tested positive for the highly contagious virus.
The first horse began showing neurological symptoms in late August, prior to being euthanized. The other two horses became sick last weekend. The farm is under quarantine.
All three horses were vaccinated in the spring for rhinopneumonitis, which is caused by equine herpesvirus. Currently licensed vaccines are not labeled for the prevention of the neurologic form of EHV-1.
The virus causes respiratory disease, abortion, and intermittent outbreaks of neurologic disease. An outbreak of EHV-1 earlier this year spread through Wisconsin and Minnesota leaving multiple horses dead.
Symptoms that should alert horse owners to the possibility of a neurologic EHV-1 infection include fever, weakness, incoordination, and urine dribbling. Horses with these symptoms should be examined immediately by a veterinarian. Suspect horses should be isolated from healthy horses.
“Horses with a fever and symptoms of contagious respiratory infection should be kept at home and not taken to shows, competitions, clinics or public trail rides,” says Dr. Paul McGraw, Wisconsin’s State Veterinarian with the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP).
Veterinarians recommend using proper bio-security 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.