Editor’s Note: This article was updated Jan. 2 to reflect new information obtained by TheHorse.com.
Several horses at a central North Carolina boarding facility have tested positive for neurologic equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1), according to a Dec. 30 statement from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDACS).
A Jan. 2 statement from the North Carolina State University Equine and Farm Animal Veterinary Center indicated that "four North Carolina horses from a Raleigh stable have been euthanized after contracting the neurologic form of equine herpes."
The NCDACS statement read, “This facility has had little movement of horses on or off the farm. Our veterinarians are working closely with the practicing veterinarian and the farm owner. The premises has been quarantined and strict biosecurity measures have been in place since Dec. 23.
“All animals are having temperatures monitored twice a day, and no horses have had fevers or other clinical signs since Friday, Dec. 27, 2013, the first day there were confirmed lab results from the National Veterinary Services Laboratory. The quarantine will be held for 28 days after the last fever is recorded.”
The statement indicated that five horses recently moved from the affected stable in the last four weeks have been tracked to four other locations in North Carolina, where their health status is being monitored.
“All known exposed horses have been accounted for, are not showing clinical signs and have not been moved,” the statement read. “No additional horses have been moved from any of the known sites.
“At this point, we believe this is an isolated incident with low-risk to other horses,” the state veterinarian’s office said. “However, we do encourage horse owners to practice good biosecurity measures as a precaution.“
EHV-1 is highly contagious among horses and can cause a variety of ailments in equids, including rhinopneumonitis (a respiratory disease usually found in young horses), abortion in broodmares, and myeloencephalopathy (EHM, the neurologic form). Myeloencephalopathy is characterized by fever, ataxia (incoordination), weakness or paralysis of the fore- and hind limbs, and incontinence.
In North Carolina EHV-1 is not a reportable disease under state law, “however the office appreciates being made aware of suspicious cases and will offer help in controlling the disease.” The last known case in North Carolina was in January 2012.
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