New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher announced May 6 that the state Department of Agriculture (DOA) has lifted quarantines at Overbrook and Tourelay Farms in Colts Neck, which have restricted horse movement in and out of the two Monmouth County farms since April 14, due to an equine herpesvirus (EHV-1) outbreak.
An investigation found that six horses at one of the farms had contracted the neurologic form of EHV-1. One of those horses was euthanized after he failed to respond to treatment. The other five horses have since recovered from their illnesses.
During the course of the 21-day quarantine, all horses at both farms were under veterinary supervision. DOA veterinarians made frequent visits, monitoring for signs of EHV-1. The quarantine was lifted after a final veterinary check found no signs of the disease.
Acting State Veterinarian Manoel Tamassia, DVM, MS, PhD Dipl. ACT, issued the following recommendation to all New Jersey horse owners: "People should be alert to the signs of neurologic equine herpesvirus, and if they see these signs they should contact their veterinarian immediately. The virus spreads quickly from horse to horse and can cause death."
The EHV-1 virus 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. The neurologic form of EHV-1, additionally, can cause an acute paralytic syndrome, which results in a high mortality. The incubation period of EHV-1 is typically two to 10 days. The virus spreads readily through direct contact with infected materials.
The virus does not affect humans and other domestic animals, with the exception of llamas and alpacas.
Disclaimer: Seek the advice of a qualified veterinarian before proceeding with any diagnosis, treatment, or therapy.