Oregon horse confirmed with EHV-1 infection

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Equine herpes virus.
Equine herpes virus.

A new case of Equine Herpes Virus-1 (EHV-1) has been confirmed in a horse in Oregon.

The state agriculture department received confirmation of the case over the weekend.

The 14-year-old quarter horse gelding from Marion County has been hospitalized at the Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine’s Large Animal Hospital.

It was admitted following the sudden onset of neurological signs.

The horse has since tested positive for both the common wild type of EHV-1 and the more serious neuropathogenic form.

Oregon has confirmed several cases of EHV-1 in horses in recent weeks, but authorities have classified the latest case as a separate event, given the length of time since the last case and a lack of links to the previous cases.

The affected horse has not traveled or attended any shows or events for at least four months, the state’s agriculture department said.

The stable has been quarantined and all horses involved remain under active observation by owners and their veterinarians.

Six of the eight quarantines associated with the previous EHV-1 cases have been released and two are pending.

EHV-1 is naturally occurring and widespread among horses. It may lie dormant in horses for long periods and then re-activate during stress.

EHV-1 can cause respiratory disease, abortions in pregnant mares, and occasionally neurologic disease, which can prove fatal.

The most common way for EHV-1 to spread is by direct horse-to-horse contact. The virus can also spread through contaminated equipment, clothing, and hands. Symptoms include fever, decreased coordination, nasal discharge, urine dribbling, loss of tail tone, hind limb weakness, leaning against a wall or fence to maintain balance, lethargy, and the inability to rise. While there is no cure, the symptoms of the disease may be treatable.

All horse owners are encouraged to practice strict biosecurity measures and hygiene if they travel to shows and competitions with their animals. Concerned owners should contact their veterinarian if they have questions.

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