Northwest Equine Veterinary Associates Reports:
What you really need to know… Everyone is worried with the Equine herpes virus type-1 (EHV-1 or Rhino) neurological outbreak after the National Cutting Association's Western National Championships in Ogden in Utah (April 30-May 8 2011). Now over six states have affected horses. The respiratory form of Rhino is common, wide-spread among horse populations and resembles a strong cold or flu. The vaccine (inactivated rhino) that most horses receive every 6 months protects them against the respiratory form but not the neurological form of the disease. The neurological form can cause uncoordination, trouble with the hind end and recumbency, resulting in euthanasia in many cases. Treatment for the neurological form has become available most recently and can save many horses if started soon during the disease. However, another disadvantage of EHV-1 is how quickly it can spread from horse to horse by contact or close proximity.
There are many articles on the internet explaining the disease and more about the virus but the goal of Northwest Equine Veterinary Associates here is to help owners know what to do right now since Washington State has a positive case…
1) If your horse is not in a barn that has a horse (s) that was at the Utah Cutting Show you do not need to panic, chances are nothing will happen. If any horse stops eating or isn’t eating well, looks quiet or not him/herself take their temperature 2x a day. If fever is noted call your veterinarian for a complete examination. If you are very concerned you may booster your horse with one of the high antigen load killed vaccines licensed for abortion control such as the Pneumabort-K (Pfizer Animal Health) or the Prodigy with Havlogen (Intervet). These vaccines can be administered to any horse whether a mare, gelding or stallion. Reactions are are not commonly associated with these 2 vaccines; occasionally the Pneumabort K has local swelling and pain that resolves uneventfully.
2) If your horse is at a barn where: A) a horse that was at one of the shows that had a confirmed case of EHV-1 is also boarded or B) has actually had a sick horse with the neurological form of EHV-1 you must:
• keep all horses at least 50-100 feet away from that horse who should be isolated,
• your horse can be boostered with the high antigen load killed vaccines licensed for abortion control (Pneumabort-K or Prodigy with Havlogen) or the Modified-live vaccine (Rhinomune, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, which causes greater side effects and reactions),
• take your horses temperature 2 or more times a day (normal is <101F but most cases of EHV-1 have T>102F),
• monitor your horse for any signs of not feeling well, being too quiet, not eating/drinking, dribbling urine, acting uncoordinated or wobbly, or any other neurological signs. If any of these occur call your veterinarian immediately and have your horse tested by nasal swab and whole blood for EHV-1 by PCR.
• If your veterinarian suspects EHV-1 or your horse is confirmed positive by PCR the State Veterinarian must be informed and your horse and barn quarantined.
• Treatment with anti-viral drugs and supportive care must be started the soonest possible. There are 2 anti-viral drugs that can be used (Valtrex and Ganciclovir) and the cost can vary from $150-450/day depending on which drug and which stage of the disease is being treated.
3) If your horse is travelling to a barn or show grounds where infected horses were or may be present: Don’t go. But if you must vaccinating your horse with the high antigen load killed vaccines licensed for abortion control (Pneumabort-K or Prodigy with Havlogen) or the Modified-live vaccine (Rhinomune, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica) 3 to 4 weeks prior to leaving home may be helpful. Upon arrival monitor your horse carefully, take temperature 2-3x /day and be in close contact with a local veterinarian. Treatment with the antiviral drugs can also be implemented during your horse’s stay.
4) If your horse is returning from a barn or show ground where there have been confirmed cases of neurological EHV-1 do not return to your barn for 28 days if possible. If not keep your horse isolated 50-100 feet from all other horses. Vaccinating your horse with the high antigen load killed vaccines licensed for abortion control (Pneumabort-K or Prodigy with Havlogen) or the Modified-live vaccine (Rhinomune, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica) can be done to decrease viral shedding in case your horse is carrying the virus. Vaccinating all other horses in the barn with the high antigen load killed vaccines licensed for abortion control (Pneumabort-K or Prodigy with Havlogen) can help prevent or mitigate potential transmission of the disease.
Northwest Equine Veterinary Associates has the high antigen load killed vaccineslicensed for abortion control Prodigy with Havlogen and the Modified-live vaccine Rhinomune, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, the ability to submit nasal and blood samples for PCR testing as well as rapid access to the anti-viral drugs necessary for treatment of the EHV-1. If you have further questions or concerns please call our office at (425) 432-1914