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Symptoms may include: a fever of 102 degrees or higher, coughing, nasal discharge, weakness in hind limbs, gait abnormalities, difficulty defecating or urinating, and trouble rising or standing. Some ways to prevent this virus from spreading would be: after handling one horse, wash your hands before moving to the next, change clothes when going to another farm, disinfect your shoes when leaving the premises, do not share water buckets or equipment, keep your horses from coming in contact with unfamiliar horses, do not rotate horses from stall to stall, and because this virus can be airborne try to keep hauling horses to a minimum.
All content on this website, including dictionary, thesaurus, literature, geography, and other reference data is for informational purposes only. The neurological form of equine herpes virus-1 (EHV-1) is a worrying disease for horse owners on several levels.
The death rate among infected horses is concerning enough, but the highly infectious nature of the virus and an apparent marked growth in the number of cases in recent years have scientists working overtime to find a vaccine and medications that will improve survival rates. On top of that, nearly a third of horses that contract the neurological form die or are euthanized. Scientists are piecing together the puzzle around a potentially fatal virus that is little different from the standard EHV-1 strain that usually causes little more than a cold.
Researchers at Cornell University in New York have found that a change in just one amino acid is the difference between the milder strain and the life-threatening neurological form, which is sometimes called the mutant or neuropathogenic strain. Cornell microbiologists discovered that a single amino acid variation in an enzyme that is part of the DNA copying process of EHV-1 creates a different type of EHV-1, which causes the neurological disorders in horses.
Although the mutant strain of EHV-1 is most frequently associated with neurological disease, the more common strain, sometimes referred to as the wild-type, has also been known to be associated with such cases.
The researchers postulate that herpes viruses tend to evolve toward strains that produce less disease, so they think that the more virulent neurological strain of EHV-1 is older than the milder type.
Three of these — EHV-1, EHV-3, and EHV-4 — pose the most serious health risks for domesticated horses and can have significant economic impacts on the equine industry. EHV-1 can cause four manifestations of disease in horses, including a neurological form, respiratory disease, abortion, and neonatal death.
EHV-3 causes a venereal disease called equine coital exanthema that affects the external genitalia.
EHV-4 causes a non-fatal upper respiratory tract disease in foals and is uncommonly associated with abortion and rarely with neurologic disease.
The neurologic form of EHV-1 causes what veterinarians call Equine Herpes Virus Myeloencephalopathy (EHM). Neurological signs appear as a result of damage to blood vessels in the brain and spinal cord associated with EHV infection. Initial exposure generally occurs in foals from contact with their mothers, usually by respiratory shedding. It can also be spread indirectly through contact with physical objects contaminated with the virus, such as tack, rugs, water containers, feed buckets, people’s hands and clothing. The incubation period for the disease may be as little as 24 hours, but is typically 4-6 days. Respiratory disease caused by EHV-1 is most common in weaned foals and yearlings, often in autumn and winter. Normally, EHV-1 infection takes hold in the upper respiratory tract, causing a mild respiratory disorder.
Cases of abortion triggered by the disease usually occur without warning, typically late in pregnancy – after eight months. As indicated, the neuropathogenic, or mutant, strain is associated with most of the neurologic cases identified. The mutation appears to result in more rapid reproduction of the virus, resulting in higher levels of circulating virus in the bloodstream, causing more severe symptoms and leading to abortion and neurological disease. Scientists have shown through testing that this mutation has been present in outbreaks throughout the world for at least 30 years. Shedding of both forms of the EHV-1 virus by the respiratory route typically lasts for 7-10 days, but can persist much longer, possibly for three weeks or more. After infection with EHV-1, the virus eventually becomes inactive in the horse’s body, setting up a carrier state that is life-long.
It is this ability to reside as a silent and persistent infection in horses which provides a reservoir of virus for continual transmission.
Authorities acknowledge the growing prevalence of EHV-1, saying it appears to meet the criteria of an emerging disease, in that the neurological form appears to be growing in severity. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (Aphis) of the US Department of Agriculture points out it is possible that the reporting of EHV-1 cases has increased, rather than an actual increase in the number and severity of cases.
Symptoms from the neurological form include a fever, usually before the neurological signs. Care for a horse extends to minimising the effects of the illness, in the hope that the horse will remain well enough to survive the infection. Antiviral drugs have been used to treat some cases, but research is not entirely clear on their effectiveness, or what constitutes the ideal time to give them to an infected horse. In the absence of a vaccine labelled as being able to prevent the neurological form, horse owners must minimise risk by adopting prudent biosecurity measures.
These include rigid quarantining of the sick animal until the risk of transmitting the infection has passed. Any horse that has aborted or shown signs of fever, respiratory disease, or neurologic disease should be separated from healthy horses.
Ideally, sick horses should be moved into a separate building or paddock on the premises, or be taken to a veterinary hospital with an isolation facility.
Do not share equipment among horses on the property, given that the virus can be spread through contaminated objects such as water and feed buckets, even bridles.
Horses carrying EHV may appear to be perfectly healthy yet spread the virus via the secretions from their nostrils. Wearing gloves and using disinfectant to sanitize footwear can also help minimize the risk of people spreading the virus between animals. Evidence indicates that the virus will typically remain capable of infecting a horse for probably less than seven days in most practical field situations, but in ideal conditions may persist for up to 35 days. Vaccines exist to control the respiratory and abortion manifestations of EHV-1, but are not proven against the neurological form.
Aphis acknowledges that the increase in EHV-1 outbreaks is worrying, because they likely fit the criteria of a disease that is evolving and changing in virulence and behavior. In the United States, reports of neurologic EHV-1 outbreaks were sporadic before 2003, with typically none or few outbreaks identified annually. The number of reported outbreaks in the US has increased, and the numbers infected in an outbreak appear to be much higher than what was seen before 2001. It is also unclear what role the poor immune response to the mutated strain is playing in the outbreaks of recent years.

The factors involved in this emergence are not clear as yet, but several have been suggested. An Aphis paper entitled Equine Herpesvirus Myeloencephalopathy: Mitigation Experiences, Lessons Learned, and Future Needs, noted that EHV was a focus of presentations at multiple equine industry and veterinary meetings in 2007, illustrating concern within the equine industry related to the disease.
Much remains to be learned about the disease, but clinicians largely agree there is ongoing need for critical evaluation of available literature, vaccine development and further research into the potential effectiveness of exisiting vaccines, and a faster test for detecting the disease that distinguishes between the neurological strain and the non-neurological strain. They have also identified the need for more information on individual animal risk factors, transmission characteristics, latency studies, and prevention options. A 2009 consensus statement from a panel of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine in 2009, laid out the challenges ahead.
Past exposure produces a limited period of protection from re-infection, of as little as 3 to 6 months, but there are no reports of horses repeatedly affected by EHM, although the rarity of the disease may be a contributing factor. Pregnancy: Abortion can occur in mares of any age, although it is largely restricted to the last trimester of pregnancy. Rectal temperature: Horses with high fever and high fevers occurring several days after the initial onset of fever, are more likely to develop EHM. Introduction of horses to a herd is commonly reported before the development of EHV-1 outbreaks, and specifically before EHM outbreaks. Breed and sex were identified as risk factors for EHM in 1 epidemiological survey, with ponies and smaller breeds less commonly affected, and females more commonly affected. Stress factors: Outbreaks of EHV-1 disease are anecdotally associated with stress factors, including weaning, commingling, transportation, and concurrent infections.
Immunological status has been proposed to have an association with the development of EHM, specifically as a result of vaccination. Professor Peter Timoney, of the Gluck Equine Research Center at the University of Kentucky and chairman of the Infectious Diseases of Horses Committee of the United States Animal Health Association, notes that the mutant strain that causes neurological disease has been identified among isolates of EHV-1 made before 2000. Based substantially on materials from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the US Department of Agriculture, and the consensus statement from a panel of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine. The Centre has been working on various aspects of equine health and production and has made landmark achievements in the fields of development of diagnostics and prophylactics for equine diseases. NRCE is involved in nation-wide monitoring and sero-surveillance of important equine infectious diseases, with a view to manage, control and eradicate diseases. NRCE has a strong biological resource base having numerous pathogens, recombinant clones, reference sera, equine sera, monoclonal antibody secreting hybridomas, etc. Pathogenic isolates (viruses, bacteria and parasites) of equine origin available with NRCE include EHV-1 (6 isolates), EHV-4 (3), equine rotavirus (29), equine influenza (7), Japanese encephalitis virus (2), West Nile virus (1), Rhodococcus equi, Stretptococcus equi, S.
NRCE has a number of hybridomas secreting monoclonal antibodies against equine herpes virus-1, equine rotavirus, Japanese encephalitis virus, West Nile virus. NRCE has repository of more than 15000 equine serum samples collected from different geographical locations in its Equine Serum Bank.
NRCE has a collection of more than 100 recombinant plasmid clones with recombinant genes of pathogens including equine influenza virus, equine rotavirus, EHV-1, EHV-4, JEV, EIAV, R.
Biological repository of NRCE has been further strengthened by establishment of National Veterinary Type Culture Collection Centre, which has repository of animal pathogens including viral isolates (camel poxvirus, buffalo poxvirus, bovine herpes virus-1, rotavirus), bacterial cultures (R. Marwari: This breed of horses constitutes an elite group of indigenous horses, which are known for their sturdiness, swiftness, elegance and beauty. Kathiawari: Genotyping of Kathiawari breeds of horses employing 30 fluorescent-labeled microsat pairs in multiplex PCRs showed high heterozygosity which clearly indicated that there is adequate genetic diversity among these equines. Manipuri : The phenotypic characterization of Manipuri ponies indicated that height at wither in both the sexes of Manipuri ponies ranged from 119-134 cm.
The centre provides disease diagnostic services for various infectious and non-infectious equine diseases to equine owners, breeders, state animal husbandry departments, police and army horses. Artificial insemination to augment the production of superior quality Marwari horses, mules and donkeys. Quality jacks and jennies are supplied to various states, breeding societies and farmers, for production of superior quality mules and donkeys.
NRCE is providing health certification for movement of equines within and outside the country.
Assessment and transfer of technology using the latest know-how of information technology is also given due importance to extend the technologies to the end-users. Extension activities: To receive feedback from the equine owners, various activities like health camp, awareness and farmers meets are organized on regular basis in different areas of the country. Equine Rhinopneumonitis (Herpes virus) is the generalized name for Equine herpesvirus type 1 (EHV-1) and Equine herpesvirus type 4 (EHV-4) can each infect the respiratory tract, Infection of the respiratory tract with EHV-1 and EHV-4 typically first occurs in foals in the first weeks or months of life, but recurrent or recrudescent clinically apparent infections are seen in weanlings, yearlings, and young horses entering training, especially when horses from different sources are commingled.
Equine Rhinopneumonitis Transmission: Both EHV-1 and EHV-4 spread via aerosolized secretions from infected coughing horses, by direct and indirect contact with nasal secretions, and, in the case of EHV-1, contact with aborted fetuses, fetal fluids, and placentae associated with abortions.
Equine Rhinopneumonitis Treatment: Primary indications for use of equine herpesvirus vaccines include prevention of EHV-1-induced abortion in pregnant mares, and reduction of signs and spread respiratory tract disease (rhinopneumonitis) in foals, weanlings, yearlings, young performance and show horses that are at high risk for exposure.
EHV-1 can be transmitted through direct contact, clothing, shoes, equipment, and even airborne and has been noted to have an incubation period of roughly 4 to 6 days. Tell a friend about us, add a link to this page, or visit the webmaster's page for free fun content. Quarantines and tracing efforts funded by authorities to prevent its spread amount to millions of dollars annually in the United States. Scientists are not entirely sure over what distance the virus can spread in this manner under typical horse management and environmental conditions. Older horses are more likely than younger ones to transmit the virus without showing signs of infection.
It can, however, infect deeper respiratory tissues and get into the blood stream, giving it a route to the uterus and nervous system, where abortion or neurological disease can result.
They are capable of shedding virus, with or without clinical disease, particularly at times of stress, for the rest of their lives. However, most researchers appear to agree there has been an increase in the number of cases involving neurological disease triggered by the mutant strain. An affected horse is likely to show poor coordination, urine dribbling, loss of tail tone, hind limb weakness, and may lean against a wall to help maintain balance. Researchers are studying several existing vaccines to determine if they may offer some degree of protection against the neurological form, and new vaccines are also being assessed.
The economic impact is substantial, not only through horses lost to the disease, but the many costs associated with treatment, quarantines, cancelled events, and the inability of horses to compete.
EHM can occur in horses of all ages, and has been reported in weanlings, both naturally occurring and experimentally induced. However, the association between increased use of vaccines and development of EHM described in that study was completely confounded by the fact that vaccination frequency was greatest in older horses, and EHM was strongly associated with greater age.

The Centre has also been recognized as national referral centre for diagnosis of important equine infectious diseases by Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying & Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture (Government of India).
This kit tests the serum sample using single dilution (1:250) thus making it very economical. A multiplex PCR targeting glycoprotein G has also been developed for differentiation of EHV-1 and EHV-4 and is routinely used in the laboratory.
A RT-PCR using VP gene primers has also been developed and its results were comparable to s-ELISA.
In addition, r-protein has been developed at the Centre which is being validated for replacing the kit available commercially.
Experimental as well as field trials of equine herpesvirus-1 inactivated vaccine have been completed. The biosecurity measures were implemented in collaboration with various state animal husbandry departments. Sequencing of outer surface proteins (VP4 and VP7) of equine rotaviruses for their genotyping and molecular epidemiology was done. A total of 114 true-to-breed Marwari horses comprising of 98 mares and 16 stallions from seven different locations were evaluated. In these ponies, bay was the most common colour (69%) followed by chestnut (23%), grey and other colours. The technique of artificial insemination using frozen semen for production of superior quality Marwari horses, superior mules and donkeys has been perfected. The scientific and technical staff provides clinical and diagnostic (including pregnancy diagnosis) services and consultancy to the farmers on demand in the areas of equine health and production.
The Veterinary Type Cultures became functional in June 2005 for establishing national repository of microorganisms of animal origin including recombinant cultures and plasmids; and identification, characterization, conservation, maintenance and utilization of microorganisms. Equine herpesvirus type 1 causes epidemic abortion in mares, the birth of weak nonviable foals, or a sporadic paralytic neurologic disease (myeloencephalopathy) secondary to vasculitis of the spinal cord and brain. One thing that all herpes viruses have in common is their ability to live within their host indefinitely.
Many horses do produce post-vaccinal antibodies against EHV, but the presence of those antibodies does not ensure complete protection. Events are canceled to reduce the risk of spread and dozens of competition horses end up confined to their stalls or properties. Antibiotics may be used to treat a secondary bacterial infection if one develops, but they will have no effect on the herpes infection itself. Movement could result in introduction of the virus to a new population; it is also possible that transport stress plays a role in allowing the disease to express itself or re-emerge from the latent stage. However, in a large epidemiological study conducted in The Netherlands, EHM was largely restricted to horses over 3 years of age, and age 4 to 5 years was similarly associated with an increased risk of EHM in a recent large North American outbreak. For example, the authors found only one published report of this condition in Australia or New Zealand and, anecdotally, there have been only a very small number of cases recorded in those countries.
The association of increased age with EHM risk is reported in populations of horses in which vaccination is not practiced. Besides, the Centre has been working towards characterization of breeds of equines, cryopreservation of semen and artificial insemination.
The vaccine generates protective immune response, which is comparable to that of commercial imported Pneumabort 'K' vaccine in pregnant mares. The updated vaccine is safe and efficacious as is evident by the protective immune response generated by the vaccine in equines in a limited experimental trial.
However, from November 2009 to March 2010, ten fresh cases of glanders have been diagnosed from equines in Raipur (Chhatisgarh) and also from Himachal Pradesh. DNA polymorphism studies revealed high level of heterozygosity and low level of heterozygosity deficit in the Marwari horse population which reflect high genetic variability in Marwari equine population. Average body length and heart girth were recorded as 129 and 148.5 cm, respectively without any significant difference due to sex. DNA of representative animals of this breed has been analyzed for molecular characterization of the breed. The pure germplasm of endangered indigenous breeds of horses is being conserved using this technology. Farmers are imparted trainings and supplied education materials for equine management, production and health.
Because both viruses are endemic (widespread) in most equine populations, most mature horses have developed some immunity through repeated natural exposure; thus, most mature horses do not develop serious respiratory disease when they become infected but may be a source of exposure for other susceptible horses.
Equine Rhinopneumonitis is spread between coughing horses or on the hands of unknowing people.
Once a horse is infected with Equine Rhinopneumonitis, it seems that infection can be reactivated later when the horse is stressed.
The centre has developed many kits and technologies which have either been patented or under the process of patent.
A new cell culture-based inactivated equine influenza vaccine has been developed and is under validation. The Centre in collaboration with Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying & Fisheries (DAHDF), Government of India has finalized the breed descriptor for the Marwari breed of horses for entry of these animals in to the stud book. In addition, a phage display library of single-domain antibodies of Indian desert camel and the twenty seven antigen-binder clones selected from the library have been deposited in the VTCC repository.
In contrast, horses are not protected against the abortigenic or neurologic forms of the disease, even after repeated exposure, and mature horses are in fact more commonly affected by the neurologic form of the disease than are juvenile animals. The regions of MHC class-II (DRB-2a and 2b) gene in Marwari horses exhibited polymorphism in 48.39% genotypes. This disease is complicated because like other strains of the virus, Equine Herpes has a varied period of symptom dormancy (not showing symptoms) while it is still able to infect other horses.
A high fever precedes the development of signs ranging from loss of coordination and weakness to paralysis.
A nuclear herd of Zanskari ponies at our Bikaner Campus, after translocating these animals from their native herd at Ladakh in J and K.
Occasionally the illness will leave the horse susceptible to bacterial pneumonia or a guttural-pouch infection.
These horses may recover with nursing care, but it can take anywhere from a few days to several months.

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