A fourth horse has been euthanized after developing neurological symptoms as the result of EHV-1 infection.
The private stable in Bucks County, Pa. was placed under quarantine on Dec. 23 after three horses were put down after becoming ill. Tests showed EHV-1 was to blame.
According to a memo sent out by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture: One of the deceased horses attended a show in New Jersey on Dec. 12 and became ill 10 days later. As of Dec. 28 there were no known cases in New Jersey.
The New Jersey Department of Agriculture is in contact with the exposed farm and is monitoring for any signs of the disease. Pennsylvania has notified area veterinarians and health departments.
The farm will be quarantined for 21 days after the last sign of illness in any horse.
On Dec. 31 Blauner, Vecchione, Buchholz and Associates, the veterinarians treating the ill horses posted on its Facebook page that another horse was eauthanized and two more were showing neurological impairment.
EHV-1 spreads quickly from horse to horse, has a high morbidity, and can cause a wide range of symptoms from a complete lack of clinical signs, to respiratory problems (especially in young horses), and spontaneous abortions in pregnant mares. Transmission of the virus is mostly via direct contact with infected materials; therefore, tack must not be shared between horses and bio-security measures must be utilized.
While highly infectious, the virus does not persist in the environment and is neutralized by hand soap, alcohol-based hand sanitizers, and sunlight.
In response to outbreaks of the disease in recent years, the United State Equestrian Federation adopted a new vaccination rule. As of Dec. 1, 2015, all horses entering the grounds of a Federation-licensed competition must be accompanied by documentation of Equine Influenza Virus and Equine Herpes Virus (Rhinopneumonitis) vaccinations within six months prior to entering the stables.
"Due to several high profile Equine Herpes (EHV) outbreaks in recent years that have involved the neuropathic strain of the virus (equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy-EHM), some competitions have placed vaccination requirements on their competitors that go beyond most accepted medical opinions and raise concern that unnecessary requirements can potentially put a horse at risk. The intent of this rule is to ensure that all licensed competitions comply with the vaccination guidelines for Equine Influenza and Equine Herpes (Rhinopneumonitis) published by the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP). These guidelines are reviewed by infectious disease experts regularly, and recommend vaccinating competition horses at six-month intervals for both equine influenza (flu) and rhinopneumonitis (EHV-1 and EHV-4). There is not a vaccine that protects against EHM," said a statement issued by the USEF in November.
The show that the Bucks County horse had attended on Dec. 12 was not named nor was it reported if the show was a USEF event.
Be sure to contact Casey Veterinary Services to make sure your vaccinations are up to date or if you need Proof of Vaccinations for upcoming shows or travel.
EHV-1 claims 4th horse at Pa. farm, 2 more reported ill
Casey Veterinary Services