EHV Closes University of Georgia Vet School Hospital

A horse in Georgia is dead tonight. But the impact of its death is being felt as an investigation into its health continues.

Meanwhile, new equine admissions at a major university vet school large animal teaching hospital have been halted.

According to the vet school’s website, on Sunday, January 31, a horse was admitted to the University of Georgia Large Animal Veterinary Teaching Hospital (VTH) in Athens, Georgia. By Wednesday, the university website announced that the VTH was closed. The patient was treated in the large animal intensive care unit for symptoms of neurological disease, and the decision was made to end its life.

Diagnostics eventually confirmed what clinicians would have suspected: the horse suffered from the neurological form of equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1).

The University is posting updates on the hospital’s website, and showing effort at providing transparency regarding how this situation affects the horses that were in the hospital at the same time as the sick horse, and especially those that were discharged before the horse’s status was realized.

As of late February 3rd, university reports stated that no other horses in the hospital had shown signs of having contracted the virus, and no new cases had been admitted. The university re-opened part of the hospital to treat livestock emergencies other than horses, llamas and alpacas. The quarantine does not affect the Small Animal Veterinary Teaching Hospital,

The University of Georgia is working with the State Veterinarian’s office on the investigation into the infected horse. 

Georgia joins New Mexico, Arizona and Illinois on the list of states with active EHV quarantines in place this month.

UPDATE: On February 5th, the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) issued a press release announcing the single case of EHV-1 at the vet school as an advisory for horse owners in the state. The release advised owners to practice biosecurity measures.

Top photo by Osvaldo Villagrana, via Flickr.

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