Equine Herpesvirus: not in Indiana

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Equine Herpesvirus ( EVH-1) is getting a lot of attention recently due to the fact that several horses have become sick with the disease. The start of the most recent outbreak happened at the National Cutting Horse Association Championships in Utah early this May. Since then, 32 horses have become sick and seven have died from this disease. Luckily, no Indiana horses appear to be affected at this time. This might be in part to the fact that no Indiana horses attended that event.

If you're not familiar with EVH-1 than you may not realize what a serious disease this can be. This disease can be contracted and carried for many years in a horse that seems to be healthy. Then, when that horse is stressed through exposure to another disease, transport, or is under very strenuous exercise, the horse can become sick.

Usually this disease is found in racehorses. The racing industry is usually affected because the number of horses traveling to races increases the probability that the disease can be transmitted.

This most recent outbreak is the first time the disease has been seen in another segment of the horse industry. This outbreak makes it very important that horse owners keep an eye out for the disease.

EVH-1 can manifest in four different ways in a horse. It can show as a respiratory illness. The horse may have trouble breathing or start coughing. The disease can cause brood mares (pregnant horses) to abort the foals; it can cause complications to a newborn foal resulting in its death.

The hardest form of the disease to detect is the neurological form of the disease. The neurological form causes damage in the brain and spinal cord resulting in loss of function.

When EVH-1 one manifests in its neurological form it is called Equine Herpesvirus Myeloencephalopathy ( EHM). Some signs of EHM are decreased coordination, urine dribbling, loss of tail carriage, weakness in hind limbs, leaning on something to help maintain balance and in severe cases, lethargy and inability to get up. If your horse displays any of these symptoms call your vet immediately.

Prevention of the disease from spreading can seem to be a difficult task. EHV-1 is usually transmitted though nose-to-nose contact with other horses, but the viruses can also be spread through indirect contact. It is always a good idea to practice good horse care. Make sure you clean all of your tack, and grooming equipment. Trailers need to be cleaned after each use. Make sure to clean out feed and water buckets regularly, and do not allow horses to share equipment or buckets.

This disease can also be transmitted on human clothes and boots. Making sure that you wash your hands before handling each different horse will dramatically reduce transmission of not only EVH-1, but other diseases as well.

It is good to note that Indiana is not requiring any additional testing of horses coming into the state, but several other states are requiring entry permits and vet health papers before horses are allowed into their state. Be aware if you are traveling with your horse about these requirements. It doesn't hurt to double check the requirements by a phone call to the Board of Animal Health or to the place where you are going to make sure of the requirements.

If you are interested in updates about the EHV-1 outbreak access the NCHA websitewww.nchacutting.com. USDA-APHIS has additional information at www.aphis.usda.gov/vs/nahss/equine/ehv/. If you have any other question please contact Ann Delchambre 653-8411 or emailadelchambre@purdue.edu or facebook Putnam County Agriculture -- Purdue.

Upcoming Events:

June 1 -- State Fair 4-H Beef Cattle, Dairy Cattle, Sheep and Swine registration due

June 1 -- Walking Wednesday Kick-Off at People Pathways Gazebo across from Wal-Mart, 5 p.m.

June 2 -- Junior Pork Quality Assurance Certification, Fair-grounds, 7 p.m.

June 4 -- Grow'em and Show'em Workshop Fairgrounds, 9:30 am

June 8 -- Walking Wednesday -- Starts from Big Walnut Sports Park South Shelter, 5 p.m.

June 9 -- Exploring 4-H Orientation, Fair-grounds, 7 p.m.

June 13 -- E. H. Leader Lesson "Ways to Relax" at Extension Office, 7 p.m.

June 14 -- 4-H Electricity Workshop, Extension Office, 9 a.m.

June 18 -- Super Scarves/Super Saturday at Extension Office, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

June 29 -- "Drying Fruits, Vegetables and Herbs" at Putnam County Library, 7 p.m.

June 30 -- 4-H Electricity Workshop, Extension Office, 1 p.m.

July 1 -- State Fair Cat, Dog, Goat, Horse and Pony, Poultry, and/or Rabbit registration due

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