EHV-1 horse virus confirmed in northeast Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. – The Kansas Department of Agriculture Animal Health Commissioner Dr. Bill Brown has reported that a horse in northeast Kansas has been confirmed positive with a wild type of a non-neurotropic case of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1).

The affected horse was euthanized and samples were sent to Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory on Friday, April 25. Preliminary tests showed lesions consistent to EHV-1.  Additional samples were then sent to the Equine Diagnostics Services in Lexington, Ky. Results from a PCR test were received Tuesday afternoon confirming the positive nature of the samples.

This horse had previously been to a large barrel racing event in Lincoln, Neb., April 10-13, where in the days following the event, a Wisconsin horse has also been confirmed positive for EHV-1 and euthanized.

Horse owners are encouraged to monitor animals carefully for signs of the disease, including checking temperatures twice a day for changes and implementing good biosecurity practices for an equine facility.

The virus is easily spread by airborne transmission, horse-to-horse contact and by contact with nasal secretions on equipment, tack, feed and other surfaces. Caregivers can spread the virus to other horses if their hands, clothing, shoes or vehicles are contaminated.

Symptoms of the disease may include a fever, nasal discharge, wobbly gait, hind-end weakness and dribbling of urine. The neurological form of the disease, including wild strains, is often fatal.

Due to the nature of this disease, the Kansas Department of Agriculture Division of Animal Health is not imposing any restrictions on equine events or movements at this time, however horse owners are encouraged to take precautionary measures when traveling or participating in equine events. If horse owners are planning to participate in upcoming horse events across Kansas, they should call ahead to event planners to confirm if the event is still taking place.

For more information about EHV-1, contact a local veterinarian.


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