It's been two days since Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine Veterinary Teaching Hospital re-opened the equine section of its clinics. The doors re-opened Monday because no new cases had been reported for more than two weeks.
The WSU veterinary hospital underwent a thorough cleaning and sanitation process that included washing everything with disinfectants from the floors to ceilings. Stall mats were removed as were any porous surfaces on doors or dividers. In some areas, what could not be cleaned and sealed was replaced.
But today the university's spokesman, Charlie Powell, announced that a? privately-owned horse admitted for an unrelated, emergency intestinal illness has also been confirmed positive for Equine Herpes Virus or EHV-1.
The horse was admitted under the WSU Infection Control Protocol instituted on re-opening of the hospital.? On arrival the animal was determined to be a "High Risk" suspect EHV-1 case.? The horse was admitted under strict isolation protocol guidelines and was tested for EHV-1.? Positive nasal swab results received Tuesday evening confirmed the veterinarians' suspicions.
The Veterinary Teaching Hospital equine section remains open and available to any clients needing care for their animals.
The new case represents Washington's ninth positive case and the sixth that has been confirmed at WSU. It was reported to the Washington State Department of Agriculture.? To date, no horses have died during the the May-June 2011 EHV outbreak in Washington.
Powell's report said that the horse's intestinal complaint (colic) resolved medically and did not require surgery.? The animal could return back to its owner's property under strict isolation if it remains stable.
WSU's enhanced infection control protocol worked. The process begins with WSU veterinarians screening each referral or private admission patient and then ranking horses according to any risk they may pose for developing active disease from an EHV-1 infection.
Horses now receive a physical examination before they are admitted. Clients presenting animals for care must now fill out a survey detailing their horses' recent health and travel. They will be informed of the status of horses already admitted to the hospital. The new protocol is to remain in place at WSU until further notice.
WSU's cleaning process was under way for more than two weeks and completed in stages. It required a crew of 15 people; ten were temporary employees hired for this process. Cost of the disinfection has not been determined and fees for services at the hospital were not raised.
Horse owners can access more complete information on this disease and its status in Washington State can be found at these links recommended by WSU:
Washington state disease updates: http://www.agr.wa.gov/FoodAnimal/AnimalHealth/HotTopics.aspx
USDA disease information and recommendations: /content/content/9994/equine_herpesvirus_brochure_2009.pdf