Equine Herpes Virus is found in many parts of the world and cases and outbreaks can be seen at any time of year. Certain strains of the virus can cause severe illness in horses, which can result in their stables being placed under quarantine for several weeks so that horses cannot travel and are unable to compete.
Although there are nine strains of the virus, Equine Herpes Virus-1 (EHV-1) and Equine Herpes Virus-4 (EHV-4) are most commonly seen. The current outbreak is the EHV-1 strain. Affected horses may suffer respiratory disease, neurological disease and abortion in pregnant mares. Young foals are also at risk and can die from the infection. Recovery rates from Equine Herpes Virus are variable. It depends on the severity of the clinical signs and whether the horse has suffered secondary infections.
Slowing down movement and interaction between horses and horse people is crucial as this is how this virus is spread. If everyone adheres to the measures, including in their home stables with isolation and reporting any sick animals to their veterinarian, we will minimise the possibility of transmission and reduce the length of the current outbreak.
A detailed factsheet about Equine Herpes Virus including the different strains, how it is transmitted, clinical signs to look out for, what to do if you suspect your horse has Equine Herpes Virus, and other biosecurity measures can be found here.