A horse that was admitted to the Virginia Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine (VMCVM) Large Animal Hospital in Blacksburg, Virginia, on November 17 was euthanized the following day.
The horse was confirmed on November 20 for equine herpesvirus type 1 (EHV-1), the virus that causes equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy (EHM).
The state veterinarians office said all exposed horses at the hospital were isolated from the rest of the hospital population. Strict biosecurity protocols were established for the quarantine. All quarantined horses are being monitored twice daily for fever (temperature over 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit) and other clinical signs.
The Virginia Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine Large Animal Hospital remains open for incoming patients. The state veterinarian's office is following up with all other horses that might have been secondarily exposed at the hospital.
The farm that was home to the horse that was euthanized (the index case) has been placed under quarantine. Horses from that facility are being monitored for fever and clinical signs of neurologic herpesvirus.
The press release from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services noted that, "There is no cause for alarm concerning the general horse population in Virginia. EHV-1 is a virus that is present in the environment and found in most horses all over the world. Horses typically are exposed to the virus at a young age with no serious side effects. A large percent of horses carry the virus with no clinical signs for the remainder of their lives. Rarely, exposed horses develop the neurologic form of the disease. Horse owners with concerns should contact their veterinarian.
"The Equine Disease Communications Center Biosecurity web pages equinediseasecc.org/biosecurity have more information on best practices for disease prevention in horses and VDACS has more information on EHV-1 at vdacs.virginia.gov/animals-equine-herpes-virus.shtml. Horse owners also may contact VDACS’ Office of Veterinary Services at 804.786.2483."
Information for this report was provided by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.