The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) confirmed Feb. 13 that a Loudon County horse has tested positive for equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy (EHM), a neurologic disease of horses caused by equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1).

On Feb. 5 the horse developed a fever and was not eating or drinking, but did not exhibit neurologic signs. The owner took the horse to the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center (EMC) in Leesburg, where veterinarians tested for and diagnosed EHV-1. The horse is in isolation at the EMC and is recovering. A second horse from the same farm exhibited a fever but no other signs. As a precaution, that animal is also under quarantine at the EMC and VDACS is running tests at its Regional Animal Health Laboratory in Warrenton.

Richard Wilkes, DVM, VDACS state veterinarian, stressed that the horses were admitted directly into the isolation area at Marion duPont Scott. At no time were these horses in the general hospital area, and the EMC is confident that their bio-security protocols will contain the virus to the isolation area, he said.

[brightcove videoid="3027535698001" title="Health Alert: Equine Herpesvirus"]

Thirty-three other horses from the same farm are under quarantine on the farm premises in Loudoun County. None of them have shown any signs of EHV-1, but will be monitored at least through Feb. 26. No horses from this farm have been at events during the incubation period for the virus.

The VDACS began an epidemiological investigation on Feb. 13 and will continue to monitor the situation.

On Feb. 6, VDACS announced that a horse in western Albemarle C