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Herpes: What you should knowHerpes: What you should know

Equine Herpesvirus (EHV-1, EHV-4) is commonly known as rhinopneumonitis, as in the “flu/rhino” vaccines you are all familiar with. Equine Herpesvirus Myeloencephalopathy (EHM) refers to the neurological version of this family of herpes viruses. EHV has three clinical forms that include respiratory disease, abortion in pregnant mares and neurological disease. In the neurological form, the virus attacks the brain stem and spinal cord. The general symptoms of herpes infection include a fever, depression, respiratory signs, and loss of appetite. The neurological symptoms may include hind end weakness, lack of coordination, toe dragging, “dog sitting,” unable to stand, urinary/fecal incontinence, and abnormal tail carriage.

The EHV virus is shed in nasal secretions and may be spread directly from horse to horse as well as on contaminated objects (grooming supplies, tack, hands, farrier and vet equipment). The virus can survive for weeks allowing for spread of the disease at shows and racing facilities where horses come and go sharing stalls and horse trailers. Also, horses can be asymptomatic carriers while shedding the virus thereby unknowingly spreading the disease.

There is no vaccine labeled for use to prevent the neurological strains of EHV and no evidence that EHV-1 vaccines can prevent EHM. However, EHV-1 vaccines have been shown to decrease viral shedding in some horses which may help reduce the spread of the virus. The best prevention is avoidance. Do not go to barns or shows that infected horses could be at and make sure everyone coming into your facility uses proper hygiene. Any horses new to your barn should be isolated for three weeks, be monitored for a fever, and have appropriate precautions taken to prevent possible spread if the horse is shedding the virus. If there may be possible exposure, supporting and boosting the horse’s immune system is recommended. KAM’s TF product is an oral immunoglobulin and herbal formulation that can increase Natural Killer (NK) cell function to help fight viral infections. There are also some essential oils that are anti-viral and can be diffused, given orally, and/or applied topically to help prevent/treat viral infections.

For information on KAM’s TF, please contact Gabriel Sutton www.kamanimalservices.com.

For information on essential oils, please contact Sue Olmos at 630-205-9355 or sueolmos@wideopenwest.com  or www.sueolmos.vibrantscents.com.

This tip was brought to you by KAM Animal Services, home of KAM’s “Equine Learning Circle” FREE webinars, which take place monthly. These webinars are an expansion of KAM’s weekly tips. Go to www.kamanimalservices.com  to sign up for the next webinar. The FREE webinars will conclude with a question and answer session, so be ready with your nutrition questions.