Recent EHV-1 Outbreaks

Recent EHV-1 Outbreak


    The recent news is alarming, outbreaks of Equine Herpesvirus, aka. EHV-1 have been reported across the Untied States. Florida and Utah are the sitea of multiple horses contracting this scary disease. EHV-1 is transmitted through nasal secretions and can cause abortion in mares, still births and the neurologic form of the disease, equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy or EHM. EHM can be fatal.


So its out there, lurking in the dark like some scary monster at the back of your brain. What if, your horse got sick? What if you don't catch it in time? What do I do, how do I protect my self and my horse(s) from this virus? Outbreaks are scary. One minute the horses are fine the next they are running fevers and showing symptoms. Even more alarming is the different locations of the outbreaks. So how do you protect your self? Here are tips for barn and horse owners for outbreak management and bio-security.


At home


  1. Wash your hands in between touching different horses.

  2. Set up a vaccination plan for your horses

  3. Use separate pair of boots if visiting other farms.

  4. Keep horses separate that leave the properly frequently.

  5. Keep all brushes, pitchforks, wheel barrels, separate for each horse.

  6. Keep any contaminated feces or waste separate from normal waste.

  7. Disinfect hose between different bucket fills.

  8. Don't use common water buckets or feed areas

  9. Don't borrow/share halters, twitches, stud chains, stalls, buckets, shovels.

  10. Disinfect stalls buckets and other items regularly.





  1. Clean and disinfect trailer before and after loading.

  2. Clean truck, car, trailer tires.

  3. Limit or minimize horse to horse contact.

  4. Limit human to horse contact

  5. Limit other species to horse contact (dogs/ birds included)

  6. Limit Indirect horse contact. Ie wash racks, fencing.

  7. Monitor horses temperature 5 days before travailing to make sure the horse is not sick prior to leaving.

  8. If worried about being exposed to disease, monitor temperature for 30 days after exposure.



First signs of disease(EHV-1)


  1. Temperature over 103 Degrees

  2. nasal discharge

  3. coughing

  4. Infection can also cause abortion and neonatal issues


Neurological symptoms(EHM)


  1. wobbly gait

  2. lack of coordination more so in the hind end

  3. urinary incontinence

  4. damage to the blood vessels in the brain and spinal cord


What to do when you suspect an illness


If horses temperature is over the normal 99-101.5 degrees contact your vet. He will take a nasal swab and blood sample to be tested. If the test comes back positive there are a few options. The vet will treat the horse based on the information available, with anti inflammatory and antivirals. Horses can recover from the neurological form of EHV-1, some will recover fully, some will have life long neurological issues.