VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND CONSUMER SERVICES
OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS, www.vdacs.virginia.gov
Contact: Michael Wallace, 804.786.1904
For Release: Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019
Virginia Horse Test Positive for Equine Herpesvirus-1
On Nov. 17, a neurologic horse was admitted to the Virginia Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine (VMCVM) Large Animal Hospital in Blacksburg. The horse deteriorated and was euthanized on Nov. 18. A test for the Equine Herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1), the virus that causes Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy, was reported as positive on Nov. 20. In conjunction with the State Veterinarian’s Office of the Virginia Department of Agriculture, all exposed horses at the hospital were immediately isolated from the rest of the hospital population with strict biosecurity protocol and placed under quarantine. All quarantined horses are being monitored twice daily for fever (temperature over 101.50 F) and other clinical signs. The hospital remains open and able to admit patients needing veterinary care.
The farm where the index case resided before going to VMCVM has been placed under quarantine. Horses at this farm are also being monitored for fever and clinical signs. The State Veterinarian’s Office has contacted all other horses that may have been secondarily exposed while at the teaching hospital.
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.