22 May 2011

Serious stuff for horse owners....

EHV-1, equine herpes virus myeloencephalopathy, a particularly contagious viral disease of horses that can cause respiratory distress, abortion in pregnant mares, and occasionally neurologic disease. The resipiratory part of this virus is common in horses and is called Rhinopneumanitis. This particular strain of EHV-1 is suspected to have neurologic implications.

Incubation after exposure is typically 2-10 days. Typical symptoms include a clear nasal discharge, elevated temperature, lack of coordination, lethargy. The disease when caught early and treated can run it's course in 21 days typically. Quarantine is reccomended.

How do your and your horses become exposed? Trail riding in a large group, horse shows /clinics, trading snuffles across the fence with another horse. These are a few ways to contract this virus. You can also transmit this virus to your horse. Dirty hands, dirty tack, feed buckets, on your clothes. This virus can travel in the air. Humans are not at risk to contract this virus, though we can be carriers.

All week I've been getting updated from neighbors (other horse people), the feed stores, and the vet. I've kept Traveler to his stall and the small pasture.  My neighbors have done the same. According to my vet, it isn't likely he will contract this ugly virus. He hasn't traveled, he hasn't been in contact with other horses who have traveled. But the vet recommended, caution, that I keep him close to home for 21 days and update his vaccinations as soon as possible.

I'm not an authority on this issue and can only pass along information as I get it. Needless to say, Traveler and I will not be going far anytime soon. I'm being cautious and having care when I visit friends/neighbors who own horses ... by washing my hands and trying not to bring it home on my clothes. I'm also watching for signs of symptoms as mentioned above.

Here's a link for the down and dirty of EHV-1 then click on 'features',  then 'horse health' and scroll down the page to find the article entitled  "EHV-1 - What do I need to know RIGHT NOW?"