Equine Infectious Neurologic Diseases Table Topic (AAEP 2012)

The discussion focused on four continuing problems: EHM, EPM, WNV, and other encephalitides.

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Veterinarians attending the equine infectious neurologic disease table topic at the 2012 American Association of Equine Practitioners’ Convention, held Dec. 1-5 in Anaheim, Calif., focused on four continuing problems, including neurologic equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1/EHM) myeloencephalopathy, equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM), West Nile virus (WNV), and other encephalitides. They also discussed Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) and rabies.

The EHM discussion centered on diagnostic procedures and vaccine administration in the face of an outbreak. The take-home message was that real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing followed by virus isolation when possible is best for diagnosis. Attendees agreed that nonvaccinated horses with likely exposure to horses in an outbreak should be vaccinated, usually using a killed monovalent vaccine, although some discussion about using a modified live vaccine ensued.

The second area of focus on EHM centered on the importance of involving public officials to ensure all state and federal regulations are adhered to and that as much data about outbreaks can be captured for help with future outbreaks. Nicola Pusterla, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, an associate professor in the Department of Medicine and Epidemiology at the University of California, Davis, briefly described the role of mules in an outbreak.

The EPM discussion centered on diagnostic testing using any of the available tests that have been validated by comparison to the gold standard, which remains a postmortem examination. Veterinarians agreed that regardless the test selected, the likelihood the horse has EPM might be increased when values are examined in both blood and cerebral spinal fluid

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Written by:

Steve Reed, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM, earned his DVM at The Ohio State University, followed by a residency at Michigan State University. He started his academic teaching career at Washington State University from 1979-1983, and then returned to Ohio State where he spent 26 years as a professor and mentor in the equine medicine department. Reed is a Diplomate in the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and is a noted author and editor of numerous scientific articles and textbooks. He has spoken at many state, national, and international meetings. His primary research interests include equine neurologic diseases. He is currently an internal medicine specialist and shareholder at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital, Emeritus Professor of The Ohio State University, an Adjunct Professor at the University of Kentucky, and the chairman of the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Advisory Committee.

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