Kentucky Position on EHV-1

The Kentucky State Veterinarian's office is being proactive in disseminating information and offering assistance to facility and equine event managers to stave off spread of neurologic equine herpesvirus.

The office of Kentucky’s State Veterinarian released this EHV-1 statement early on Monday, March 8, 2021.

The following was provided from the Kentucky State Veterinarian’s office:

“In the past seven days, we have learned of multiple occurrences of EHV-1 impacting equine events throughout the world. Additionally, as we are coming to the time of year that we historically see an increase in movement of equine exhibition and racing stock into Kentucky, I want to remind all associated parties that mitigating risk of disease introduction is a shared responsibility that requires commitment from each individual exhibitor, trainer, event manager, facility operator, veterinarian and animal health official. 

“Facility managers and the managers of shows/exhibitions planned to be held in Kentucky should immediately review their biosecurity practices and, if needed, elevate their biosecurity plan to minimize opportunity of horses having direct or indirect contact with one another. Indirect contact would include common water and feed sources as well as shared equipment and congregating in common areas. 

“The goal of a biosecurity plan is to prevent the transmission of infectious agents among individuals, and the components of a successful program will include cooperation of management, facility layout, decontamination, and when applicable, immunization. Each of these factors directly affects the success or failure of the program. 

“Copies of the American Association of Equine Practitioners biosecurity guidelines can be downloaded here or the Equine Disease Communication Centers website and click on the Biosecurity tab at the top of the page. The documents provide good general guidance of practices that should be routinely implemented, and we encourage show managers to share these directions with all exhibitors. 

“Additionally, our office is happy to assist facilities, show management and event veterinarians in evaluating their individual plans and when a need is identified, assist in adopting and implementing a defined plan.”

Florida Status from Kentucky State Vet’s Office

“On Sunday, March 7, I spoke with the Florida State Veterinarian overseeing the EHV-1 investigation and management of the disease incident in Ocala, Florida. As of today, there continues to be a single barn on the Ocala facility with EHV-1 cases confirmed by diagnostic testing. The barn remains under quarantine, and activity on the premises is being monitored by animal health officials. Equines presenting with evidence or suspicion of illness are being isolated and tested.”

Florida (Marion County) to Kentucky Movement

“We appreciate the proactive action taken by the Florida Department of Agriculture to mitigate further transmission of EHV-1. With the epidemiologic investigation still in its early stages, the status of potentially exposed horses unknown, and the potential risk of fomite (human) transmission to other facilities during the days preceding the diagnosis, Dr. Katie Flynn (Kentucky State Veterinarian) and I both feel we are justified in stipulating that in addition to our normal entry requirements, horses destined to Kentucky from the Ocala area (identified as Marion County) be examined and a certificate of veterinary inspection (CVI) issued during the 72-hour period preceding the horse’s arrival at the Kentucky destination. 

“The examination and issuance of the CVI should be performed by a veterinarian familiar with the individual horse and the environment from which it originates and with confidence the horse has not been recently exposed to a reportable disease. 

“We will continue to monitor the activity in Florida and plan to reevaluate the 72-hour CVI policy during the week ending Sunday, March 21.”

European Union EHV-1 Concerns: Available Testing Options for Importing Horses

“We continue to gather and assess information describing multiple outbreaks of equine herpesvirus type 1 impacting equine events in several European countries. Reports published yesterday suggest there are now six countries with confirmed cases: Spain, Germany, Belgium, France, Sweden and a case in Qatar that is apparently linked to the European outbreak.

“USDA announced this past Friday (March 5) that horses importing through federal quarantine facilities can be sampled while completing quarantine will be allowed to be sampled with those samples sent by permit to a USDA-approved laboratory for EHV-1 testing by PCR. 

“To schedule and accomplish testing, horsemen should work with their importing broker/agent to arrange for the samples to be collected, submitted and tested. 

“USDA has advised us that results of the testing will be reported and shared before the horse releases from quarantine and that a positive result will not delay release of the animals so long as there is no fever or other clinical signs detected. 

“Our horsemen need to preplan and insure they have suitable space available to isolate and quarantine any horse that is reported positive. 

“After the horse(s) arrives in Kentucky, we will work with the farm and attending veterinarians to better understand as quickly as possible the individual animal’s disease status and associated risk it may pose.”

This information was submitted by E.S. Rusty Ford, Equine Operations Consultant, Office of the Kentucky State Veterinarian.


The following information is provided by EquiManagement as these topics relate to the Kentucky news on controlling neurologic equine herpesvirus.

Here is EquiManagement’s report from the EDCC on the neurologic herpesvirus case in Florida.

A second EHV-1 positive horse on the Marion County premises is not showing neurologic signs.

Here is EquiManagement’s report from the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center about a horse euthanized for neurologic equine herpesvirus.

You can listen to the first episode of EquiManagement’s veterinary podcast Disease Du Jour that featured Dr. Steve Reed, who talked about equine herpesvirus.

Here is information from the FEI on the cancellation of European equine events to to the spread of neurologic equine herpesvirus.

Here is the FEI web page that contains updates on the neurologic equine herpesvirus outbreak in Europe. Information from that FEI site included the following:

  • This strain of EHV-1 is particularly aggressive and has already caused equine fatalities and a very large number of severe clinical cases. 
  • As of March 8, there have been:
    • nine deaths—two on venue in Valencia, three in hospital in Valencia, two in Barcelona, two in Germany. There are higher numbers being quoted on social media, but the official and confirmed figures are nine equine deaths to date.
    • Countries with confirmed cases: Belgium, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Qatar, Sweden, Switzerland
    • Note: USA recently announced a case of neurologic EHV-1, but this is not linked to the current outbreak in Europe.
  • There are 10 European nations where equine events have been cancelled March 1-28, but FEI noted that other European nations have also proactively cancelled national events during this period: France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Italy, Austria, Poland, Netherlands, Germany and Slovakia
  • The science provided by the epidemiologists is clear—stopping competition for four weeks is the only way to prevent the further spread of this terrible disease.

Trending Articles
vet horse owner talking chestnut horse center
The Business of Practice: Marketing Your Veterinary Practice
Madigan Foal Squeeze Technique
Madigan Foal Squeeze Procedure for Neonatal Maladjustment Syndrome promo image
Madigan Foal Squeeze Procedure for Neonatal Maladjustment Syndrome
Tablets Pills Horse
Using the Right Meds to Manage Chronic Pain in Horses
Get the best from EquiManagement delivered straight to your inbox once a week! Topics include horse care, disease alerts, and vet practitioner updates.

"*" indicates required fields


Additional Offers

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.