Equine herpes virus (EHV-1) has been getting a lot of attention lately due to its outbreak in the United States. Horse owners are concerned about this virus and what it might do. We will briefly go over a few things that you should know about EHV-1.
- EHV-1 is a virus that spreads through horse-to-horse contact. EHV-1 can survive on surfaces, equipment, grooming supplies, trailers, gates, buckets, etc. During this time, try to reduce the amount of traveling you are doing with your horse. Also, keep your horse’s belongings with them and do not allow other people or horses to use them.
- The incubation period of a horse that is exposed to the virus can be longer than you would anticipate. Since it is a neurological disease, your horse may not show signs for 7-8 days. Horses that have been exposed to EHV-1 should be quarantined for a minimum of two weeks. If there is evidence of EHV-1 on a farm, the horses should be quarantined for about 4 weeks.
- EHV-1 is actually a common virus to find in horses. Most horses are exposed to it in early life but do not show signs of illness. The virus usually causes respiratory infections and occasionally abortion in pregnant mares. The neurological aspect of the disease is an unusual outcome but is currently widespread amongst horses.
- The early signs of EHV-1 are a fever. If your horse has a fever for no apparent reason, you should contact your veterinarian. An early detection of a fever could lead to an early diagnosis of the disease and allow more time for treatment.
Until the outbreak of EHV-1 has settled, keep your horses home and reduce the risk of exposure to other horses. By understanding the virus, you will have a better chance of preventing outbreaks at your farm.