Regarding EHV-1 Cases in MN
EHV-1 is a highly contagious virus that causes respiratory disease, abortion, and intermittent outbreaks of neurologic disease in horses. Symptoms that should alert horse owners to the possibility of neurologic EHV-1 infection include fever, weakness, in-coordination and urine dribbling or inability to urinate. The fever typically precedes any more severe symptoms. Suspect horses should be isolated from healthy horses and examined immediately by a veterinarian.
Vaccination is available for EHV-1. Vaccination will help prevent the respiratory and reproductive forms of the disease. There are currently no vaccines available to fully protect against the neurologic strain of EHV-1, however the vaccine will help reduce the spread of the virus within the horse population.
We recommend that horses with a fever and any symptoms of contagious respiratory infection (nasal discharge, cough, lack of appetite) should be kept at home and not taken to shows, clinics, or public rides. Horse owners should also be aware that transportation of horses to competitions, shows, or clinics may increase the risk of exposure to infectious organisms. Owners of sick horses should always wash and disinfect their hands and change their clothes before coming into contact with healthy horses to prevent the potential spread of any infectious organisms.
The Minnesota Board of Animal Health will provide updates to the veterinary community as the EHV-1 situation evolves.