Texas lab offers EHV-1 testing advice

May 29, 2011

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The Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory is offering specific recommendations for diagnostic testing to horse owners who may be concerned about EHV-1.

"Early and accurate diagnosis is a key to slowing the spread of an animal disease," laboratory director Dr Tammy Beckham said.

"Concerned horse owners should consult with veterinarians for a thorough examination and discuss effective EVH-1 testing."

For horse owners who want to test for EHV-1, the laboratory strongly recommends requesting an Equine Herpesvirus type 1 PCR (EHV-1 PCR).

Turnaround time for PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing is no more than five working days. Acceptable samples are nasal swabs and whole blood (EDTA anticoagulant).

For euthanized animals the lab recommends fresh tissues - liver, spleen, brain, and for abortion cases, an aborted foetus or placenta.

In these cases, suitable tests are EHV-1 PCR and histopathology.

Serology testing from a single sample has limited diagnostic value in this situation due to widespread EHV-1 exposure and vaccination in the general equine population.