Equine herpes virus case confirmed in Florida

Officials say the case is isolated from the recent outbreak in Western states
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May 20, 2011
By dvm360.com staff

Jonesville, Fla. -– A new case of equine herpes virus (EHV-1) was confirmed at a Jonesville, Fla., farm, although officials say the case is unrelated to a recent outbreak originating in Utah and expanding to other western states.

At the Florida farm, two horses were euthanized and the state imposed a quarantine while veterinarians monitor the remaining 12 horses. According to attending veterinarian Dr. Susan Tanhauser of the North Florida Equine Veterinary Service, the remaining horses have shown no symptoms of equine herpes virus—not even an elevated temperature.

The first horse was treated for colic in early May, but its condition deteriorated and it was eventually euthanized. Veterinarians did not suspect EHV-1 due to the horse’s age of 27 or 28, Tanhauser says.

On May 11, a 10-year-old Thoroughbred displayed signs of colic, and then had trouble getting up later that day. The horse was euthanized the next morning and the state veterinarian's office in Florida was contacted.

A preliminary test at the University of Florida confirmed EHV-1 and that result was confirmed a day later at the University of Kentucky. EHV-1 was suspected but not tested for in the first horse.

The farm is now under a 28-day state quarantine.

According to Dr. Bill Jeter, chief of the state’s Bureau of Animal Disease Control, the two horses moved to the farm from a nearby farm about two weeks before the neurologic symptoms emerged, indicating that stress may have been the cause. Since the farm owner had worked diligently to introduce the horses slowly to their new surroundings, access to the 12 other horses was limited, Jeter says. “We don’t feel there’s much chance for any additional exposure,” he adds.

The case, however, was not linked to the recent EHV-1 outbreak that followed the National Cutting Horse Association’s Western National Championships in Ogden, Utah, earlier this month, since no Florida horses participated at the event. “We feel very confident that it’s not in any way related,” he says. “It’s an isolated case.”

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