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Signs herpes outbreak is coming

With the recent outbreaks of the neurological form of equine herpesvirus-1, horse owners should be aware of the risks posed by this disease and methods to help protect their horses from exposure and infection.
Equine herpesvirus-1 and EHV-4 are the most likely to create clinical disease, such as respiratory distress, fever, nasal discharge, cough, anorexia and abortions. EHV-1 can also cause abortions and stillbirths in pregnant mares exposed to the virus, as well as foals that are born alive but die soon after birth. Equine herpesvirus is transmitted through both direct and indirect contact with infected horses and can be spread via water buckets, feed tubs, tack, grooming equipment and even on the hands and feet of people caring for affected animals. EHV is particularly hard to manage because a horse may become latently infected and not display symptoms for many years after infection.
AQHA’s FREE FREE Stomach Ulcers in Horses report dives deep into the issues of this condition, which is more common than you might think.
While there are no vaccines labeled for the prevention of EHM, horse owners should discuss EHV vaccination protocols with their veterinarian. When administered prior to exposure to stressful situations such as horse shows, transportation or exposure to disease, immunomodulators can help stimulate and prepare a horse’s immune system to function more efficiently. While vaccination programs and hygiene management practices may not completely prevent the spread of EHV, informed owners can help provide their horses with the best level of protection. Mare with signs of healing Equine Herpesvirus-3 (EHV-3, Coital Exanthema) lesions on her vulval lips. Stallion’s penis with a pox-like lesion typical of Equine Herpesvirus-3 (EHV-3, Coital Exanthema) infection.
There are many types of Equine Herpesvirus (EHV) but the ones that affect the domestic horse are EHV-1, -2, -3, -4 and -5. Equine herpesvirus-1 (also known as equine rhinopneumonitis virus) can cause neurological disease, respiratory disease, abortion and death of newborn foals. Equine herpesvirus-4 mainly causes respiratory disease, and only rarely has been reported to cause neurological disease or abortion. EHV-1 and EHV-4, are extremely widespread and although most horses will have the virus many of them will not show signs of illness most of the time. There are no vaccines currently available that provide complete protection against equine herpesvirus.
EHV-1 and -4 are DNA viruses, with the DNA genome enclosed by an icosohedral capsid that is surrounded by a tegument layer and finally an outer membrane, also known as the virion envelope.
Within each type of EHV (for example EHV-1), there are many different strains circulating in the horse population.
In the light of recent Equine HerpesVirus (EHV-1) outbreaks, the AHT has launched a set of guidelines for horse owners and event co-ordinators to help minimise the risk of any infectious disease spread.
The Animal Health Trust is a veterinary charity, based in Suffolk, which offers clinical referral services and diagnostic testing for horses, dogs and cats in East Anglia, across the UK and internationally. Equine herpesvirus is extremely contagious, and many horses can become latently infected – infecting other horses while not displaying symptoms themselves. Recent outbreaks of EHV-1 have also involved an uncommon but devastating secondary disease known as equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy, which causes neurologic symptoms such as hind limb ataxia or weakness, decreased tail tone, urinary incontinence and death. In the event of an outbreak, all affected horses should be isolated or removed from the premises to an isolation area.


The disease may then be activated by periods of stress caused by training, competition, transportation or other environmental situations. ZYLEXIS® from Pfizer Animal Health is a demonstrated safe and effective immunomodulator that stimulates the immune system and helps to reduce upper respiratory disease caused by EHV-1 and EHV-4. Ongoing herd management practices, such as isolating new horses from the main herd, not sharing feed pans or water buckets between horses and thoroughly disinfecting tack and grooming equipment, should be part of a facility’s daily routine, especially during proximity to an outbreak. EHV-2 and EHV-5 are found in most horses and rarely cause disease, although they have been associated with conjunctivitis and respiratory disease.
Neurological symptoms are varied but can include hind limb weakness and loss of coordination (ataxia), which can progress to problems in the horse getting up (recumbency) and paralysis. The vaccines that are available give some protection against respiratory disease and can help to reduce the spread of infective virus. These strains can differ from each other by just a few amino acids, which can be identified by sequencing the DNA. The Animal Health Trust is a World Organisation of Animal Health (OIE) reference laboratory for EHV-1.
Through its research programmes it develops new diagnostic tests, treatments and vaccines to help thousands of animals. Pathogenesis of equine herpesvirus-associated neurological disease: a revised explanation. Owners should contact their veterinarian to determine their horse’s risk level for EHV and best practices to help reduce the risk of infection and transmission of this disease. The prognosis for recovery for non-recumbent horses is favorable, but poor for horses that remain recumbent for more than two days. Owners should disinfect all areas where the virus may have spread with a disinfectant that is not neutralized by organic material. EHV-1 is also the cause of a recently identified syndrome, peracute vasculitis, which is fatal to adult horses. This is because the virus, as with other herpesviruses, establishes latency where only the viral DNA resides in the cells of the host animal. However, vaccination should be viewed as assistance to disease control alongside good equine management. The EHV-1 genome is 150 kb in size and encodes 76 genes (open reading frames), whereas the EHV-4 genome is slightly smaller (145 kb) but also has 76 genes. The alpha-TIF (VP16) homologue (ETIF) of equine herpesvirus 1 is essential for secondary envelopment and virus egress. EHM occurs rarely with EHV-4 respiratory infections and can also occur with no previous signs of respiratory disease. Hand washing and foot baths are recommended for anyone with direct contact to infected horses. Immunomodulators should not be used in horses with a fever or showing signs of clinical disease. EHV-3 can cause a venereal disease but again this is quite rare and does not cause death or need treatment. If the virus reactivates, it goes on to multiply and possibly cause clinical illness in the horse.


To help reduce the incidence of EHV outbreaks, any sick animals should be quarantined from healthy horses and strict hygiene precautions established.
Some of these genes are 'essential', encoding proteins that are absolutely required for virus replication (eg.
For example, a single mutation within the EHV-1 gene, ORF 30 has been shown to be associated with neurological disease. Use of polarised equine endothelial cell cultures and an in vitro thrombosis model for potential characterisation of EHV-1 strain variation.
Genetic relatedness and pathogenicity of equine herpesvirus 1 isolated from onager, zebra and gazelle.A  Archives of Virology. Frequency and phenotype of EHV-1 specific, IFN-gamma synthesising lymphocytes in ponies: the effects of age, pregnancy and infection.
It is at this stage that the virus is spread through aerosolised droplets, which can infect other horses through inhalation or ingestion. Similarly horses at risk from reactivating virus (for example weanlings and horses going into training or showing) should be isolated.
Equine herpesvirus type 1-associated myeloencephalopathy in The Netherlands: a four-year retrospective study (1999-2003). Quantification by real-time PCR of the magnitude and duration of leucocyte-associated viraemia in horses infected with neuropathogenic vs. Detection of viruses in nasal swab samples from horses with acute, febrile, respiratory disease using virus isolation, polymerase chain reaction and serology. Reactivation of latent virus can occur when the horse is stressed, (for example during illness, transportation or weaning), however the actual mechanism of reactivation is unknown. Others encode 'accessory' proteins, which are not absolutely required for virus replication, but which contribute to virus survival within infected animals.
Expression of the full-length form of gp2 of equine herpesvirus 1 (EHV-1) completely restores respiratory virulence to the attenuated EHV-1 strain KyA in CBA mice. Detection of equine herpesvirus-specific effector and memory cytotoxic immunity in the equine upper respiratory tract. Detection and quantification of equine herpesvirus-1 viremia and nasal shedding by real-time polymerase chain reaction. A rise in temperature can be a warning that a horse is developing illness so taking regular mesurements of at risk horses is advisable.
Analysis of equid herpesvirus 1 strain variation reveals a point mutation of the DNA polymerase strongly associated with neuropathogenic versus nonneuropathogenic disease outbreaks. Outbreak of neurologic disease caused by equine herpesvirus-1 at a university equestrian center. An Argentine equine herpesvirus strain with special restriction patterns protect mice challenged with a pathogenic strain.



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