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Disease Du Jour: Equine Herpesvirus Update

Episode 53 of the Disease Du Jour podcast brings you some basics and research updates on equine herpesvirus from Dr. Gisela Soboll Hussey.
two horses touching noses English bridles

Dr. Hussey said her research shows mares over 20 years of age are more likely to get equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy.

Everywhere you turn today, someone is asking you about equine herpesvirus. From the neurologic outbreak in Europe to multiple stand-alone and multi-horse occurrences of neurologic, respiratory or abortogenic disease in North America, equine herpesvirus is a hot topic.

In Episode 53 of the Disease Du Jour podcast, we talk to Gisela Soboll Hussey, DVM, MS, PhD, an associate professor in Pathobiology and Diagnostic Investigation at the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Hussey’s research focus is on herpesviral diseases.

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Read the episode transcript here.

EquiManagement’s Disease Du Jour podcast is focused on equine research and current best practices. Disease Du Jour is brought to you in 2021 by Merck Animal Health.

Topics Discussed:

  • Are we just better at recognizing and testing, or are we actually seeing a global upswing in disease?
  • Most of those cases have been EHV-1, but a few reports are of EHV-4 infections. How do veterinarians explain the difference to horse owners?

  • Should veterinarians have a different level of concern depending on whether EHV-1 or EHV-4 is diagnosed?

  • Why do some horses develop neurologic signs with equine herpesvirus infection and others don’t?What best explains why no manufacturer has an anti-neurologic disease vaccine for equine herpesvirus?

  • How can veterinarians help protect their patients from disease caused by equine herpesvirus?There are a couple of different types of equine herpesvirus vaccines available for horses currently. What is the difference between the those vaccines given to pregnant mares to prevent abortion (such as Prodigy) and the equine herpesvirus vaccines commonly given to non-pregnant horses?

  • We know equine herpesvirus vaccination doesn’t afford complete protection—vaccinated horses CAN still get infected with equine herpesvirus. What are the benefits of vaccinating horses against EHV and how to veterinarians explain those benefits to their clients?

  • There are a couple of different types of equine herpesvirus vaccines available for horses currently. What is the difference between the those vaccines given to pregnant mares to prevent abortion (such as Prodigy) and the equine herpesvirus vaccines commonly given to non-pregnant horses?

  • What best explains why no manufacturer has an anti-neurologic disease vaccine for equine herpesvirus?

  • What are your thoughts about the suggestion that vaccinated horses might be at higher risk for neurologic disease?

  • Dr. Soboll Hussey, you’ve done some research recently looking at a modified-live equine influenza vaccine (FluAvert) and how it might protect a horse against equine herpesvirus infection. Can you tell us a little bit about that?What are your thoughts about the suggestion that vaccinated horses might be at higher risk for neurologic disease?

Research

The following links were provided by Dr. Soboll Hussey for those wanting to read additional research:

Zarski, L.M.; Giessler, K.S.; Jacob, S.I.; Weber, P.S.; McCauley, A.G.; Lee, Y.; Soboll Hussey G. Identification of host factors associated with the development of equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy in horses by transcriptomic analysis of peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Viruses. 2021, 13(3), 356; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13030356

Soboll Hussey G. Key determinants of EHV-1 and EHV-4 pathogenesis. Invited guest editorial, Veterinary Pathology, August 2019. https://doi.org/10.1177/0300985819849498

Soboll Hussey G, Osterrieder N, Azab W. Equine Herpesviruses. In: Encyclopedia of Virology, 4’th edition. Granoff A, Webster RG. Elsevier, 2019

Pusterla, N. & Soboll Hussey, G. Equine Herpesvirus-1 Myeloencephalopathy. In: Veterinary Clinics of North America: Equine Practice, New Perspectives in Infectious Diseases, Volume 30. Mealey, RH. Elsevier, 2014. (An updated version of this chapter is expected in 2021).

For a full list see: https://cvm.msu.edu/directory/hussey. This site also contains a link to google scholar.

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EquiManagement’s Disease Du Jour podcast is focused on equine research and current best practices. Disease Du Jour is brought to you in 2020 by Merck Animal Health.

If you have suggestions or comments please contact Kimberly S. Brown at kbrown@equinenetwork.com.

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