Equine Herpes Virus Update

We’ve had a lot of communication from concerned clients about the Equine Herpes Virus outbreak in Europe, how this may affect our horses and what vaccines are available. We understand this is worrying to many, so we wanted to take a moment to give you more information on Equine Herpes Virus.

Equine Herpes Virus or EHV is a common virus that is endemic in horse populations worldwide. There are at least 5 types of Herpes virus but we are most interested in EHV-1 and EHV-4.

EHV-1 usually causes a mild respiratory disease, but in pregnant mares it can cause abortion and rarely also has the ability to cause neurological disease.

EHV-4 usually causes respiratory disease

The strain circulating in Europe from Valencia, Spain at the moment which has sadly resulted in a number of equine deaths is EHV-1 and it is the NEUROLOGICAL form of the disease. Currently there is a licensed vaccine which is used to protect against both EHV-1 and EHV-4 but it is only licensed and effective against respiratory disease and abortion. It is NOT licensed for or proven to work against the neurological form of the disease.

If you would like the EHV vaccine we are happy to provide this to you. The vaccine offers good protection against abortion and respiratory disease but remember minimal protection against the neurological form of the disease.

As a practice, we do not feel there is any heightened risk to the UK horse population at the moment, and the limited movement of horses due to the Covid-19 pandemic will aid with this.

The best way to prevent Equine Herpes transmission are the same biosecurity steps we often encourage for all transmissible diseases: don’t share water sources between horses, ensure all horses have their own kit & equipment, disinfect all items and horseboxes/trailers after travel, regular hand-washing, and preventing horses from contact with horses not on their yard.

Please contact us with any questions on 01782 510 502 or if you would like a EHV vaccine booked in. We also have a Yard Biosecurity Program we can assist you with putting into place, so let us know if that would be of interest.