With a heightened awareness, interest and inquiries about the disease from clients, veterinarians might be forced to admit
that there is not much they can do aside from vaccinate to decrease the likelihood of spread and hope for the best. But there
should be some solace in the fact that the recent outbreaks — besides the 2003 outbreak at a Findlay, Ohio riding school —
have been predominantly at racetracks, says Kenneth Marcella, DVM, owner of Chattahoochee Equine Clinic in Georgia.
"Since the experts can't be sure that any one vaccine is better than the other, I'm going to recommend that we strive for
the best protection we can get by doing a little bit of both. Maybe spring we'll do the modified live, and in the fall, we'll
administer the killed vaccine," Marcella says. "There is not enough evidence that shows this is going to be a huge population
problem without the stress factor, so I'd rather manage the stress.
"The other thing is that if you vaccinate too much with the killed vaccine, the more susceptible they are to contracting
Osterrieder agrees, saying some of the killed vaccines, especially the combination products that contain six antigens, drive
the immune response in a direction where an animal will be unable to deal with the herpesvirus infection.
"They are driving more toward antibody generation, which is not useful against herpes," he says.
A practitioner who suspects a case of EHV-1 should contact the respective state board of animal health. Some tests require
about a week to glean results, but some states and facilities, including Gluck, use a rapid-response polymerase chain reaction
(PCR) test, which generates results in about two to three days.