Warn­ing over equine her­pes

Break-out is con­firmed at Chal­font St Giles

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS - by Tom Her­bert tom.her­bert@trin­i­tymir­ror.com Twit­ter: @TRHer­bert

AN out­break of equine her­pes has been con­firmed in Chal­font St Giles.

The Chiltern Equine Clinic an­nounced the news on its Face­book page last week (Tues­day Jan­uary 10).

They wrote: “This is a very in­fec­tious virus which can cause res­pi­ra­tory dis­ease, neu­ro­log­i­cal dis­ease and abor­tion in mares.

“If you have any ques­tions re­gard­ing Equine Her­pes Virus (EHV), please don’t hes­i­tate to get in touch. If you are con­cerned about your horse, par­tic­u­larly if he or she has a high tem­per­a­ture, please give us a call straight away.

“Biose­cu­rity mea­sures are in place. Risk of in­fec­tion can be min­imised with good biose­cu­rity mea­sures, ie avoid­ing close con­tact or shar­ing of water or feed buck­ets with other horses, par­tic­u­larly at com­pe­ti­tions, and iso­lat­ing new horses at liv­ery yards. Known cases should be iso­lated.”

It is the sec­ond out­break of the virus in re­cent months, ac­cord­ing to Horse and Hound mag­a­zine. They re­ported that four horses had to be put down in early Novem­ber after con­tract­ing the dis­ease. It was said to have been con­tained at Ross­dales Hert­ford­shire vet­eri­nary prac­tice.

The most com­mon signs to look out for are those of an up­per res­pi­ra­tory tract in­fec­tion.

They can vary from no clin­i­cal signs to a high tem­per­a­ture, lethargy, pu­ru­lent nasal dis­charge and cough.

The clinic also warns the in­cu­ba­tion pe­riod ranges from two to 10 days, and dur­ing these times the horse may not ex­hibit signs but is still con­ta­gious.

Treat­ment in­volves anti-in­flam­ma­to­ries and the ad­min­is­tra­tion of in­tra­venous or oral flu­ids.

There is a vac­cine for strains EHV-1 and EHV4 but it does not give com­plete pro­tec­tion and needs to be con­sid­ered on a case by case ba­sis.

Vet at the clinic, Carmel Mol­loy, said: “It’s re- ally im­pos­si­ble to pre­dict how com­mon it is.

“It’s not the most com­mon but there’s no data at the mo­ment be­cause it’s chang­ing quickly and we’re be­hind.”

Out­breaks have hap­pened in Ox­ford­shire, Here­ford­shire and in Amer­ica, she said, and added: “We’re see­ing more of it this win­ter. But this is the only case of EHV we’ve seen [at the clinic] this year. There­fore the data is not that re­li­able.”

She is­sued the fol­low­ing ad­vice to horse own­ers: “Biose­cu­rity pro­to­cols should be in place all year around and not just in out­breaks like this. If peo­ple do have any con­cerns con­tact us im­me­di­ately.”

Horse own­ers are ad­vised to mon­i­tor their an­i­mal’s tem­per­a­ture daily and wash hands with dis­in­fec­tant.

Preg­nant horses should be vac­ci­nated at five, seven and nine months of preg­nancy and kept sep­a­rate from other horses. An­i­mals should be grouped to­gether in groups of ex­posed and non ex­posed.


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