Equine Herpes Virus in Tennessee? University Equine Hospital Quarantined by Disease Threat

The following information is reprinted from an announcement posted by the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine in Knoxville, Tennessee. Please read the announcement carefully: the diagnosis of EHV has not been confirmed at this time, and the horse was very carefully kept in isolation from other horses but all precautions are being followed.


Earlier this year, precautions related to EHV affected the operations of veterinary college hospitals at Cornell University, the University of Saskatchewan, Washington State University and Colorado State University. Some situations have simply limited the entry of out-patient horses or the admission of new patients, while others have been an actual quarantine.

(Knoxville, TN. September 16, 2011)–?The Tennessee State Veterinarian?has placed the? Equine Hospital at the University of Tennessee Veterinary Medical Center under a seven day quarantine. The Veterinary Medical Center expects to maintain voluntary isolation for an additional period of time as clinicians investigate a neurologic case?caused by a contagious strain of a virus. Due to the potential for spread of?Equine Herpes Virus type 1 (EHV-1) among horses and camelids, movement to and from the equine hospital is restricted.

It is important to note there is not currently an active case of EHV-1 in the hospital, and we are taking every precaution to prevent the spread of disease.

Thursday, September 15, a down horse was brought to the Equine Hospital at the UT Veterinary Medical Center at 2:00 p.m. ?The horse?was kept in a separate area of?the equine hospital.?Within hours, the horses condition deteriorated, and the animal was euthanized.

EHV is a common virus found in horse populations around the world. Almost all horses older than two years of age have been exposed to it.??While many horses can carry the virus with no or minimal signs of illness,?it occasionally causes some to develop serious clinical signs; therefore,?we are exercising an abundance of precaution in our equine hospital.??It is unknown what causes some horses?to develop the serious neurological form, however most cases are associated with a mutated of the virus. EHV-1 can manifest itself in four ways: neurological form, respiratory disease, abortion, and neonatal death.?The neurological form is called Equine Herpesvirus Myeloencephalopathy (EHM). ?It is not contagious to people.

The United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) has issued?A Guide To Understanding the Neurologic Form of EHV Infection that details information about the transmission of EHV-1, clinical signs and diagnosis of EHM, and ways to prevent spreading the virus to other horses and camelids.

The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) has assembled a list of frequently asked questions.?Click here for the FAQ.

The AAEP has also assembled useful websites with links to information for?horseowners and for?veterinarians.

Also from the USDA,?Biosecurity–The Key to Keeping Your Horses Healthy which includes information about disinfectants and footbaths.

Appointments at the UTCVM Equine Hospital have been relocated to an off-site facility. In some instances, our ambulatory field service can provide medical care on-site for local owners. If? you have questions, call (865) 974-8387.




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