Ohio Horse Tests Positive for Equine Influenza and EHV-4
An attending veterinarian has reported a 2-year-old Quarter Horse gelding at a farm in Hamilton County, Ohio, as testing positive for both equine influenza (EI) and equine herpesvirus-4 (EHV-4). Two additional horses were potentially exposed.

The horse, which was not vaccinated against either disease, first showed clinical signs on Oct. 2 and was confirmed positive on Oct. 5. His clinical signs consisted of fever and nasal discharge. He is reported as alive and recovering.

The gelding recently returned from a show in Fort Worth, Texas, and started showing signs of disease the following day. He is quarantined and will not be leaving the owner’s farm for the balance of 2021.

About Equine Influenza

Equine influenza is a highly contagious respiratory disease that infects horses, ponies, and other equids, such as donkeys, mules, and zebras. The virus that causes it is spread via saliva and respiratory secretions from infected horses. Horses are commonly exposed via horse-to-horse contact; aerosol transmission from coughing and sneezing; and contact with human’s contaminated hands, shoes, or clothes or contaminated tack, buckets, or other equipment.

Clinical signs of equine influenza infection can include a high fever (up to 106°F); a dry, hacking cough; depression; weakness; anorexia; serous (watery) nasal discharge; and slightly enlarged lymph nodes. Consider monitoring your horse’s health at shows by taking his temperature daily, which can help you pick up on signs of infection early and take appropriate measures to reduce disease spread.

Vaccination is an important and inexpensive way to protect your horse. US Equestrian requires proof that horses have had an equine influenza vaccination within the six months prior to attending organization-sanctioned competitions or events. Your veterinarian can help you determine what other vaccines your horse might benefit from.

In addition to vaccinating, following strict biosecurity protocols can help reduce your horse’s chance of infection and disease. Such measures include quarantining new equine arrivals at barns, disinfecting buckets and equipment, and preventing nose-to-nose contact between horses.