Article Text

Clinical, serological and virological characteristics of an outbreak of paresis and neonatal foal disease due to equine herpesvirus-1 on a stud farm
  1. CG McCartan,
  2. MM Russell,
  3. JL Wood and
  4. JA Mumford
  1. Department of Infectious Diseases, Animal Health Trust, Newmarket.

Abstract

An outbreak of equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1) occurred on a large stud farm with 133 mares, 54 foals and four stallions, and at least 85 mares, 22 foals and three stallions were infected. Clinical disease was observed in 16 mares, two stallions and 13 foals and the predominant clinical signs were scrotal oedema, ataxia and loss of libido in the stallions, ataxia and recumbency in the mares and uveitis and nasal discharge in the foals, although pneumonia and colic with intussusception were also recorded at autopsy. Neurological disease was more common in the mares nursing foals (12 of 38 infected) than in barren mares (one of 46 infected). Three mares died during the outbreak and no mares that had been recumbent bred again. Control procedures were based on virological and serological testing and stringent management practices to limit the spread of infection between groups of mares and foals and away from the stud farm. There were marked antibody responses in the adult horses, but they were generally poor in the foals; three of the nine viraemic foals did not develop significant increases in the levels of circulating antibody. Recommendations are made for the management of future outbreaks.

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