EHV Confirmed in King County, Washington, Horse

The affected 13-year-old Haflinger gelding is not exhibiting neurologic signs of disease at this time.

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EHV Confirmed in King County, Washington, Horse
Photo: Alexandra Beckstett/The Horse
The Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) reported Dec. 15 that a Washington state horse has tested positive for equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1).

“(The) Washington State Department of Agriculture confirmed an equine herpesvirus-1 neurotropic genome strain in a horse in King County,” the EDCC said on its website. “The 13-year-old Haflinger gelding has no neurological symptoms at this time. The facility is under quarantine and the remaining horses are having their temperatures taken twice daily and strict biosecurity practices are in place, as well.”

Herpesvirus 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 (the neurologic form). In many horses, fever is the only sign of EHV-1 infection, which can go undetected.

Video: Horse Health Alert: Equine Herpesvirus
Video: Horse Health Alert: Equine Herpesvirus

In addition to fever, other common signs of EHV-1 infection in young horses include cough, decreased appetite, depression, and a nasal discharge. Pregnant mares typically show no signs of infection before they abort, and abortions usually occur late in gestation (around eight months), but can be earlier. Abortions can occur anywhere from two weeks to several months following infection with EHV-1

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Written by:

Erica Larson, former news editor for The Horse, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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