Equine Herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1) is the neurological form of Herpes. Vaccination does not seem to provide any protection from this form of the disease. Some people say that the respiratory form gets into the spinal cord and that is when you see neurological signs.
Some say that you can vaccinate against the respiratory form. Horses who died from the neurological form of herpes last year at the east coast race track were all vaccinated for the respiratory form. There is also some speculation that horses frequently vaccinated for EHV-1 could be more susceptible to the neurological form. If you are interested in giving your horse a booster shot for this disease, Pneumobort-K is a good choice. Actually, any EHV-1 vaccine is fine if you want to booster your horse. Remember, once a horse is vaccinated, you don’t really see an immune response for two weeks.
We are not pushing vaccination at this time. A teleconference held the evening of May 19 featuring Nicola Pusterla, DVM, PhD, Dipl ACVIM, associate professor of equine internal medicine at the University of California–Davis, regarding the EHV-1 outbreak gave out some additional information about the outbreak. The horses who may have spread the EHV-1 virus left Ogden Utah 20 days ago. There have been five confirmed deaths of horses, and three horses have been euthanized. It seems that a horse can carry the virus and not show clinical signs. These horses have infected some others who have displayed clinical signs.
Many horses in the general population will test positive for latent rhino virus and not pose a threat. Cases have been seen in Texas, California, Washington, Colorado, Arizona, Canada, Idaho, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Utah. There is no evidence that the virus could be spread using cooled semen, although it may not hurt to wipe down the outside of the box and the syringes with soap or diluted Clorox water. The dilution for the bleach is 4-8 ounces of bleach per gallon of water. Wyoming and Colorado have stepped up their entrance requirements, so if you are planning a trip with your horse to these states, be sure to comply with their new regulations.
Dr. Pusterla told us that a nasal swab from a horse with EHV-1 should be very accurate at detecting the disease. New horses should be quarantined for 21-28 days to be sure they are not carrying the virus. Two nasal swabs, done 7-10 days apart on any new horse that comes into your barn would be another way to screen the animal to make sure it is not carrying the latent virus. The EHV-1 virus does NOT come from the EHV-4 virus or vice versa. They are two separate entities.
Your farrier should wash his or her hands and perhaps even change clothes between barns. The virus is killed by bleach, and is actually easily controlled with just good hygiene, such as handwashing, foot baths, and protective clothing. Veterinarians and their technicians can change smocks between barns or between horses, wear booties over their shoes, and wash their hands.
One good way to protect your horse is to STAY HOME. The virus is highly contagious and is spread by nasal secretion, through the air, and on stall walls and feeders. The next smart thing to do, if your horse is at risk or needs to go to a show, is to put the horse on 15cc of Lemon Balm to kill the virus and 15cc of Skullcap to keep the virus from getting into the cells; two or three times a day; starting five to seven days before a show and continuing through the show and a couple of days after the show. We use the very strong and very pure Lemon Balm and Skullcap from Buck Mountain Botanicals. You can buy these products at the clinic.
Another name for Herpes is Rhinopneumonitis or Rhino. It is a virus. If your horse is acting sick, check the temperature frequently. Horses with Herpes virus will spike a fever. The normal temperature for a horse is about 100 degrees. One of the vets attending the teleconference said they are seeing horses with neurological signs that did not first have a fever. If your horse is having trouble walking or balancing or urinating, have the horse checked by a veterinarian. Get the nasal swab done, and you can also have a blood test (PCR) done. Dr. Pusterla said the blood test is accurate only about 80% of the time. If you suspect your horse could have contracted rhino (or herpes), I would suggest giving 4cc of Neoplasene mixed in water and added to some feed, two times daily. If the horse is not eating, mix the neoplasene in water and add molasses and give the dose via a syringe. Neoplasene will kill the virus.
Other treatments for Herpes virus include:
- L-Lysine powder one tablespoon three times daily
- Homeopathic Nosodes for Herpes virus
- Lauricidin, made from Saw Palmetto, developed by chemist Jon Kabara
- Vitamin C powder to strengthen the immune system
- Silver Lining Herbs nerve and brain formula, immune formula
- Various anti-herpes drugs from the human market could help, but are very expensive
More info: www.thewholehorse.com