California EHV: Sixth Horse Tests Positive

Find My Horses Presents: California EHV: Sixth Horse Tests Positive

A sixth California horse has tested positive for equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1), animal health officials in that state announced Nov. 7.

On Nov. 3, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) reported that two Saddlebred horses in Los Angeles County had tested positive for non-neuropathogenic EHV-1. The next day, the CDFA issued an update indicating that three more horses at the index facility had tested positive.

On Nov. 7, the CDFA said an additional horse had been confirmed positive.

“At the Los Angeles Equestrian Center, a febrile horse displaying mild neurologic signs has been confirmed positive for the non-neuropathogenic strain of equine herpesvirus-1,” the agency said. “One of the six horses was euthanized on Nov. 3 due to the severity of clinical signs. All other confirmed positive horses remain in isolation and under quarantine. All exposed horses remain under quarantine and temperatures are being taken twice daily.

“Four of the six confirmed positive horses participated in a horse show in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Oct. 24-29,” the CDFA added. “At this time, no additional EHV-1 cases have been confirmed in horses that exhibited at the Las Vegas horse show. CDFA has confirmed that the host facility has taken biosecurity measures of thorough cleaning and disinfection of the show facility.”

Veterinarians from the CDFA Animal Health Branch continue to monitor the quarantine and situation on-site and will provide additional updates as they become available.

Health Alert: Equine Herpesvirus

Herpesvirus is highly contagious among horses and can cause a variety of ailments in equids, including rhinopneumonitis (a respiratory disease usually found in young horses), abortion in broodmares, and myeloencephalopathy (the neurologic form). In many horses, fever is the only sign of EHV-1 infection, which can go undetected.

In addition to fever, other common signs of EHV-1 infection in young horses include cough, decreased appetite, depression, and a nasal discharge. Pregnant mares typically show no signs of infection before they abort, and abortions usually occur late in gestation (around eight months), but can be earlier. Abortions can occur anywhere from two weeks to several months following infection with EHV-1.

Horses with the neurologic form usually have a fever at the onset of the disease and might show signs of a respiratory infection. A few days later, neurologic signs such as ataxia (incoordination), weakness or paralysis of the fore- and hind limbs, urine retention and dribbling, loss of tail tone, and recumbency (inability to rise) develop.

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