In March, eight horses housed at a Pennsylvania show barn were diagnosed with EHV-1 after having elevated temperatures but no other signs of illness. The cause of the outbreak has been found to be a new variant of the EHV-1 H752 genotype. The variant contains the same mutation as the EHV-1 outbreak in France.
EHV-1 can cause respiratory disease in young horses, early death in foals, abortions in mares and occasionally neurological disease. Neurologic issues are fairly uncommon, but can cause the death of the affected horse.
The 31 horses that lived at the affected barn were treated with valacyclovir, and ill horses also received flunixin meglumine and sodium heparin. The investigation team, led by Dr. Nicola Pusterla, believe that the early administration of valacyclovir may have prevented additional horses from falling ill with neurologic complications. Additionally, they note the lack of respiratory symptoms in these cases may be related to the recent administration of EHV vaccinations.
The distribution of the new genotype is not known.
Read the case report here.
Read more at HorseTalk.
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