Herpes: 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
For information on essential oils, please contact Sue Olmos at
This tip was brought to you by KAM Animal Services, home of KAM’s
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