Possible EHV-1 Case Quarantined at Fair Hill Training Center

A horse at the Fair Hill Training Center (FHTC) in Elkton, Md., is in quarantine with a suspected case of equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1).

According to a post on the training center's website, "The horse with the unconfirmed case of EHV-1 has been isolated, and the barn that he was in has also been isolated as a precautionary measure. The rest of the horses at the facility have not been affected; we will continue to monitor the situation closely."

Kathleen Anderson, DVM, owner and manager of the Elkton-based Equine Veterinary Care, PC, told The Horse that "the isolated horse exhibited an elevated temperature prior to a colic episode and subsequent moderate neurologic signs." The horse tested negative on serology for equine protozoal myeloencephalitis, she said, and was also tested for EHV-1. Anderson said both “buffy coat” (a type of blood test) and nasal swab samples on the isolated horse were sent to both the Maryland Deptartment of Agriculture and University of Kentucky Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.

"The 'buffy coat' samples were negative; however, the PCR nasal swab sample demonstrated a weak positive with no evidence of neuropathogenic strain mutation," she said.

"Temperatures are being monitored carefully and the problem horse, as well as horses in the exposed barn, have not exhibited elevated temperatures nor any other change in related clinical signs," she noted. "There is no evidence to indicate that further restrictions are necessary. Any fevers will be tested at the time of occurrence and the isolation period will be reset accordingly.

"We believe that swift action on the part of the horsemen and treating veterinarians will yield a satisfactory outcome that will allow horses to continue to 'do business as usual' on the remainder of the FHTC facility," she relayed.

Video: Health Alert: Equine Herpesvirus (EHV)

Although it's not transmissible to humans, EHV-1 is highly contagious among horses and camelids and is generally passed from horse to horse via aerosol transmission (when affected animals sneeze/cough) and contact with nasal secretions on objects such as feed buckets, grooming supplies, humans, and other infected animals. The disease can cause a variety of ailments in equids, including rhinopneumonitis (a respiratory disease usually found in young horses), abortion in broodmares, and myeloencephalopathy (EHM, the neurologic form).

Myeloencephalopathy is characterized by fever, ataxia (incoordination), weakness or paralysis of the hind limbs, and incontinence. Should a horse that potentially has been exposed to EHV-1 display any of the aforementioned clinical signs, call a veterinarian to obtain samples and test for the disease.

TheHorse.com will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available.

Disclaimer: Seek the advice of a qualified veterinarian before proceeding with any diagnosis, treatment, or therapy.