Wednesday, May 18, 2011

No foolin around

I received this in my inbox the other night-
I skipped over some of it to focus on the relevant information we can all use.
Message sent to AAEP DVM Member in the U.S. and Canada on May 16, 2011

Currently, there are numerous reports of equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy (EHM) affecting horses and farms across the U.S. and Canada. This outbreak appears related to initial cases at a cutting horse show in Ogden Utah, which was held from April 29 - May 8. Horses at that event may have been exposed to this virus and subsequently spread the infection to other horses. While the true extent of this disease outbreak is uncertain, there is clearly a very significant elevated risk of EHM cases at this time. At this time control of the outbreak is critically dependent on biosecurity.

Laboratory submission of nasal swabs and whole blood samples collected from the exposed horse can be utilized for virus detection and isolation. Please consider testing any suspected cases.

The EHV-1 organism spreads quickly from horse to horse but typically only causes neurological disease sporadically. However, in an outbreak of EHV-1 neurologic such as we are experiencing now, the disease can reach high morbidity and case fatality rates. The incubation period of EHV-1 infection is typically 1-2-days, with clinical signs of fever then occurring, often in a biphasic fever, over the following 10 days. When neurological disease occurs it is typically 8-12 days after the primary infection, starting often after the second fever spike. In horses infected with the neurologic strain of EHV-1, clinical signs may include: nasal discharge, incoordination, hind end weakness, recumbency, lethargy, urine dribbling and diminished tail tone. Prognosis depends on severity of signs and the period of recumbency. There is no specific treatment for EHV-1, although antiviral drugs (i.e. valacyclovire) may have some value before neurological signs occur. Non-specific treatment may include intravenous fluids, and other appropriate supportive therapy; the use of anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) is strongly recommended. Currently, there is no equine vaccine that has a label claim for protection against the neurological strain of the virus.

Horse-to-horse contact, aerosol transmission, and contaminated hands, equipment, tack, and feed all play a role in disease spread. However, horses with severe clinical signs of neurological EHV-1 infection are thought to have large viral loads in their blood and nasal secretions and therefore, present the greatest danger for spreading the disease. Immediate separation and isolation of identified suspect cases and implementation of appropriate biosecurity measures are key elements for disease control.

For additional questions, please contact Keith Kleine, AAEP director of industry relations, at (800) 443-0177 or


William Moyer, DVM
2011 AAEP President
There were also two follow up emails.
One containing a vet's name stating there were 30 confirmed deaths in Arizona.
The other one saying the vet does not exist, there are three (3) confirmed cases, no deaths...   
I don't understand the thought process of people making stuff up or adding to the hype in cases like this. We all like to pass along information. It sucks we may have to check our sources from time to time before we do. 
I hope nobodies horses are affected or infected with this. If it happens, I hope they are either able to pull through with a quick recovery or have a quick and quiet end.  I don't like it when animals suffer. 


fernvalley01 said...

Some good info there , I was having trouble finding out the incubation of the virus , to establish quarantine procedures should I need to . I agree theou the "Chicken littles" need to shut up and if the rest of us lay low and do not feed our healthy stock to the epidemic ,I should resolve fairly quickly , the biggest thing I can see to stop it is to reduce expoosure to new cases and treat what has already been exposed .Sounds simple ,but will it go that way?

cattypex said...

Oh man. This is really scary AS IS, and I'm sure there will be plenty of rumormongering as well.

So glad that there are reputable sources out there. This thing could so easily and so quickly spread east.

Cut-N-Jump said...

FV- We can all hope everyone complies for the health and well being of their own horses. There may be a few stragglers who haven't heard yet, but it has made it all over the local magazines, CL and been on the news here. Let's hope no horses are lost.

CP- I'm not sure which states have been affected. The Ogden show is one of the bigger shows since it is the NCHA Western National Championships.

What sucks is making it that far in competition and then to find out your horse was exposed to that type of illness. Since there is no vaccine- it's not something anyone could have prevented.

I'm pretty sure whoever owns the horse that was infected and at the show, feels bad enough already. Since it has a lengthy incubation period, the probably didn't know.

cattypex said...

I know...

A little girl brought her pony to our Fair a few years back. He seemed a little "down," she just thought he was finally being "good." She didn't know. Her parents didn't know.

Wellllll.... a WHOLE bunch of horses in the county came down with Strangles right after Fair!!!! God, what a mess.

Cut-N-Jump said...

CP- At least Strangles is treatable and once they get it, they are kinda like chicken pox and don't often repeat the process.

At the time of my last comment post, I didn't know which states were affected. A lot of them are.

One case in Canada, three horses put down in Idaho, 3-4 in California, with 14 reported cases, one case in Washington, one in Arizona- euthanized. One case in Texas, and I heard New Mexico and Colorado each had one case, but I'm not sure if they did or not.

Everything is shut down here for the time being. The local horse park is closed through June 2nd. I hope this is contained quickly and no more are lost.

Although the vets up in Northern Az put on a seminar at the rodeo grounds, their shared opinion- if the horse is tested positive for the disease, you may as well put them down. They could be a carrier for life. That sucks!

Rising Rainbow said...

I was told at my meeting yesterday there are six confirmed cases in Washington. That is also what has been reported on the TV news here. I was also told that information was only being taken from sites with "credentials." I'll be posting about that meeting since it turned out to be mostly about this issue.