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Agricultural News

Oklahoma Confirms Case of Neurological Equine Herpesvirus

Thu, 19 Feb 2015 05:06:27 CST

Oklahoma Confirms Case of Neurological Equine Herpesvirus A horse diagnosed with Equine Herpesvirus has shut down the Oklahoma State University's Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Last week the horse was referred to OSU after being treated for two weeks for a illness at a private veterinary clinic. After several days of treatment at OSU, the horse began showing neurological symptoms and the horse was diagnosed and confirmed to have EHV.

Oklahoma State Veterinarian Dr. Rod Hall said this is the state's first case of the neuropathogenic strain of the Equine Herpesvirus. Oklahoma has had cases of the typical field strain of EHV, but this is the first so-called mutant strain in the state.

Radio Oklahoma Network's Leslie Smith caught up with Dr. Hall about this development. Click or tap on the LISTENBAR below to listen to the full interview.

Equine Herpesvirus is more common than what one might think. Dr. Hall said most horses have been exposed to the virus during their life, but their immune system fights it off. A stressful event can trigger the virus causing respiratory signs. Hall said every once in a while it can cause neurological signs, like this horse showed. He said they don't think the horse was ill with the Herpesvirus the entire time it was being treated, but rather had a sudden response to the original illness the horse came down with. The sickness put stress on the horse's immune system and allowed the horse to show symptoms of this Herpesvirus.

Currently the horse continues to be treated at OSU's Equine Veterinary Hospital. The horse is in isolation, so no other horses are being hospitalized with this infected horse. All owners with horses that were potentially exposed to this infected horse have been informed and appropriate measures have been taken with monitoring and treatment. The infected horse will remain at the equine hospital until it can be transported to the Biosafety Level 2 facility. At that time the hospital will be thoroughly disinfected and OSU will send out a notice that the hospital has reopened.

With this single case of EHV, horse owners may be concerned about the safety of their horses. Dr. Hall said this situation has been managed well and does not expect any changes to shipping requirements for Oklahoma horses.

"There is no reason to not let horses come into the state and there is not reason for any other state to not accept horses from Oklahoma, because the horses that potentially are exposed are in confinement and aren't able to move," Hall said.

Horse owners should continue to follow good animal husbandry practices in providing proper nutrition and preventative health care with vaccinations and deworming. Dr. Hall said there is no research that shows that vaccinating will prevent this form of the disease, but some research has shown horses that are properly vaccinated are less apt to get the disease and this form of the disease. He recommends horse owners develop a relationship with their veterinarian in case there is a reason to be concerned.

Click here for more information about Equine Herpesvirus from the American Association of Equine Practioneers.

Leslie Smith interviews Oklahoma State Vet Dr. Rod Hall
right-click to download mp3


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