Four horses on New York farm test positive for EHV-1; one horse had recently competed at large show facility

Veterinary officials urge owners who may have been at the same show to follow monitoring protocols to detect signs of illness in their horses

Four horses at a stable in Brewster, New York, have the neurologic form of equine herpes virus, type-1, including one horse who had recently competed at a large show facility, according to the Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC). 

EHV-1 most often causes mild-to-moderate respiratory illness (rhinopneumonitis), but the infection occasionally leads to the life-threatening neurologic disease equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy (EHM). The mechanisms through which EHV-1 produces neurologic disease are not yet understood.

Learn more: Read “When EHV-1 Turns Deadly.” 

An outbreak of a particularly aggressive strain of neurological EHV-1 in Europe, associated with the show jumping competition circuit there, along with EHV-1 cases in show horses in Florida have veterinary officials on high alert for further spread of the virus. 

Concern about this strain is so great that the Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI) canceled all events in mainland Europe through April 11, as well as the World Cup jumping and dressage competitions, which were scheduled to be held in the Gothenberg, Sweden from March 31 to April 4.

The first horse at the New York facility began showing clinical signs on March 7, and the diagnosis was confirmed in all four horses on March 10. Two of the horse are showing neurologic signs consistent with EHM. The barn has implemented strict biosecurity measures, according to the EDCC.

While the origin of the outbreak at this farm is still unknown, veterinary officials note that one of the horses with EHM was recently at a large show in North Salem, New York. The following information was provided by the EDCC:  

Only 1 of the 4 positive horses (an EHM case) competed at Old Salem Farm in North Salem, NY. This horse arrived on the evening of Thursday, March 4th, competed in equitation on March 5th and returned home on March 5th. This horse started to exhibit symptoms on Sunday, March 7th.

The other EHM case exhibited symptoms on Monday, March 8th. The 2 EHV-1 cases were sampled due to close proximity to the index case. Old Salem Farm has no known cases of EHV-1 or EHM at this time. Show management is cleaning and disinfecting the facility and following appropriate EHV-1 biosecurity protocols.

If you visited or competed at Old Salem Farm during that time, please refer to the AAEP’s FAQ for instructions on monitoring your horse. For updated competition information, please visit 

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