Preventing the Spread of Equine Herpes Virus “Bio security measures are critical in controlling the spread of equine herpes virus in any of its forms.” (Dr. Larry Bauman, University of Wisconsin)
1. Horses being introduced to a new facility should be isolated for 10 to 14 days.
2. Quarantine any horse displaying symptoms of ill health (i.e., elevated temperatures, lethargy) for 21 days.
3. Pasture horses in small herds to reduce spread of any disease.
4. Viruses are easily airborne at distances up to 45 feet (consider this when isolating horses). Adequate ventilation may decrease communicability as well.
5. Work with quarantined or isolated horses last, including stall cleaning, feeding, etc.
6. Limit contact between visiting horses and people, dogs, equipment etc. Viruses are easily carried on surfaces.
7. Don’t move horses from stall to stall. Not only does it spread germs, but stressed horses are more vulnerable to disease.
8. Do not submerge the end of the hose when watering.
9. Each horse should have an individual feed tub and water bucket. Ideally, grooming tools, bits, saddle pads and blankets would be assigned to each horse as well.
10. Frequently disinfect areas of the barn that are used by multiple horses or visiting horses.
11. Avoid high traffic horse events such as shows, clinics and trail rides if there is an outbreak of any of the forms of equine herpes virus, or any virus that may weaken the immune system.
Remember that stress is a key trigger for activating the equine herpes virus in latent horses, making travel and shows particularly high risk. -- Brenda Toma