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Notice: Equine Neurological Disease Outbreak

Discussion in 'Horses, Donkeys and Mules' started by liz stevens, May 20, 2011.

  1. May 20, 2011
    liz stevens

    liz stevens Lovin' The Homestead

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    Just A heads up to all horse owners.

    Liz Stevens
    Cottage Craft Works


    Outbreak of neurological disease caused by EHV-1
    May 15th, 2011
    URGENT RESPONSE INFORMATION AND RESOURCES
    Currently, there are numerous reports of equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy (EHM) affecting horses and farms in Colorado and several other Western states. This outbreak appears related to initial cases at a Cutting horse show in Ogden Utah, which was held from April 29th May 8th. Horses at that event may have been exposed to this virus and subsequently spread the infection to other horses. While the true extent of this disease outbreak is uncertain, there is clearly a very significant elevated risk of EHM cases at this time. At this time control of the outbreak is critically dependent on biosecurity. We want to address four Frequently Asked Questions in this document:

    1. How do we handle horses returning from events where they may have been exposed to this infection?
    For horses that may have been exposed to the risk of infection, there are some steps to take to mitigate the risk at their home facility. Even if these horses are returning home from events at which no disease was reported, and even if these horses appear healthy, precautions are needed at this time as these horses could bring it home and spread it at their home farm this is the classic way this disease spreads:
    o These horses should be isolated from any other horses when they return to their home facility. Isolation requires housing them away from other horses, using different equipment to feed, clean and work with them that is used with any other horses, and rigorous hygiene procedures for horse handlers (hand hygiene, wearing separate clothes when contacting the horses, etc.). Please discuss this with your veterinarian.
    o We strongly advise owners to call their vets to discuss how long to keep the horses
    isolated at home, but even if they don't develop fevers this should be at least 14 -21
    days.
    o These horses should have their temperature taken twice a day, as temperature is
    typically the first and most common sign of infection horses with elevated temperatures (101.5 F or greater) should be swabbed by your vet to find out whether
    they are shedding EHV-1.
    o If a horse develops a fever and is found to be shedding EHV-1 then the level of risk to
    other horses on the premises increases significantly. Those affected farms should
    work closely with their veterinarian to manage that situation, if it develops.
    o The AAEP has published an extensive set of Infectious Disease Control guidelines
    on its website, in the member section, that can be used for a more detailed response.

    2. What do we do if we already have a potentially exposed horse on a farm?
    It still makes sense to isolate this horse from other horses, even though it may have already been in contact with them, start isolation procedures to stop further exposure. It is very important to not mix horses from different groups to accomplish this. Try and isolate the suspect horse without moving other horses from one group to another segregation of horse groups is the key, because this will help you reduce spread if an outbreak starts.
    Check temperatures of all horses on the farm twice daily (fever spikes can be missed if you check once daily). If fevers are detected, then test for EHV-1.
    The value of starting healthy horses on anti-viral treatment when there is no evidence of disease on the farm is questionable. The treatment is expensive, the drug (Valtrex -
    valacyclovir) may have limited availability, and prophylactic therapy against EHM will only work while drug is being administered. Therefore it is more likely to be effective if
    administered when fever is first detected (see below).

    3. What anti-viral treatments can I use against EHM on a farm?
    If EHM is present on a farm, then the risk to other horses at that farm is greatly increased. Stringent quarantine and biosecurity procedures must be implemented immediately.
    Treatment of horses with clinical neurological disease (EHM) is largely supportive the use of anti-viral drugs is not known to be of value at this stage. Use of anti-inflammatory drugs is recommended: flunixin meglumine (0.5 to 1 mg/kg, IV, q 24 hours).
    For horses on the farm that develop fever, test EHV-1 positive, or have a high risk of exposure, anti-viral drugs may decrease the chance of developing EHM.
    Currently, the treatment of choice in a febrile EHV-1 infected horse to prevent the development of EHM is Valacyclovir (Valtrex), given orally. The use of oral acyclovir is unlikely to be of any value, as it is not absorbed from the GI tract.
    We currently recommend Valacyclovir (Valtrex) for prophylactic therapy at a dose of 30 mg/kg q 8 hr for two days, then 20 mg/kg q 12 hr for 1-2 weeks. Maintain on higher dose rate if the horse is still febrile. This is an expensive drug, and daily treatment costs can typically be $20-300 per day. Generic forms of Valacyclovir may be available, and may be marginally cheaper.
    The use of Valacyclovir in horses that have already developed signs of EHM is questionable at this time, in that circumstance the use of intravenous Ganciclovir is preferable as it may have greater potency against the disease. The dose of Ganciclovir is 2.5 mg/kg q 8 hr IV for one day then 2.5 mg/kg q 12 hr IV for one week.

    4. Is there any value to using booster vaccination against EHV-1 at this time.
    Unfortunately, there is no evidence at this time that current EHV-1 vaccines can prevent EHM.
    The more potent EHV-1 vaccines have been shown to reduce nasal shedding and in some cases reduce viremia. These products may therefore have some theoretical value against EHM (by reducing viremia), and certainly against spread of the virus.
    The more potent EHV-1 vaccines include: Rhinomune, or Calvenza EHV, Boehringer Animal Health; Pneumabort-K, Pfizer Animal Health; Prodigy Intervet Schering-Plough Animal Health.
    If horses on the farm are previously vaccinated against EHV-1 then booster vaccination should quickly increase immunity, and perhaps reduce spread of EHV-1 if it is present.
    Vaccination in these circumstances is controversial, as some authorities speculate that immunity to EHV-1 may play a role in the development of EHM. While this is unproven, it remains a possibility. The use of vaccination is therefore a risk-based decision.
    Additional sources of information are listed below. Until we know more about this outbreak, caution is recommended at all times to reduce spread of infection. Movement of horses on and off farms should be limited whenever possible.
    Sources of information:
    Brochure you can give to clients:
    http://www.aphis.usda.gov/vs/nahss/equine/ehv/equine_herpesvirus_brochure_2009.pdf
    Websites with well organized EHV-1 information:
    University of California, Davis, School Vet Med detailed and practical information
    about handling sick horses, diagnostic testing, and control
    http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/ceh/ehv1_general.cfm
    Background paper:
    ACVIM EHV-1 consensus statement current detailed information about the virus,
    neurological disease, and control.
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1939-1676.2009.0304.x/pdf
    D. Paul Lunn, Lutz Goehring & Paul S. Morley
    Department of Clinical Sciences
    CVMBS
    Outbreak of neurological disease caused by EHV-1
    May 15th, 2011
    URGENT RESPONSE INFORMATION AND RESOURCES
    Currently, there are numerous reports of equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy (EHM) affecting horses and farms in Colorado and several other Western states. This outbreak appears related to initial cases at a Cutting horse show in Ogden Utah, which was held from April 29th May 8th. Horses at that event may have been exposed to this virus and subsequently spread the infection to other horses. While the true extent of this disease outbreak is uncertain, there is clearly a very significant elevated risk of EHM cases at this time. At this time control of the outbreak is critically dependent on biosecurity. We want to address four Frequently Asked Questions in this document:

    1. How do we handle horses returning from events where they may have been exposed to this infection?
    For horses that may have been exposed to the risk of infection, there are some steps to take to mitigate the risk at their home facility. Even if these horses are returning home from events at which no disease was reported, and even if these horses appear healthy, precautions are needed at this time as these horses could bring it home and spread it at their home farm this is the classic way this disease spreads:
    o These horses should be isolated from any other horses when they return to their home facility. Isolation requires housing them away from other horses, using different equipment to feed, clean and work with them that is used with any other horses, and rigorous hygiene procedures for horse handlers (hand hygiene, wearing separate clothes when contacting the horses, etc.). Please discuss this with your veterinarian.
    o We strongly advise owners to call their vets to discuss how long to keep the horses
    isolated at home, but even if they don't develop fevers this should be at least 14 -21
    days.
    o These horses should have their temperature taken twice a day, as temperature is
    typically the first and most common sign of infection horses with elevated temperatures (101.5 F or greater) should be swabbed by your vet to find out whether
    they are shedding EHV-1.
    o If a horse develops a fever and is found to be shedding EHV-1 then the level of risk to
    other horses on the premises increases significantly. Those affected farms should
    work closely with their veterinarian to manage that situation, if it develops.
    o The AAEP has published an extensive set of Infectious Disease Control guidelines
    on its website, in the member section, that can be used for a more detailed response.

    2. What do we do if we already have a potentially exposed horse on a farm?
    It still makes sense to isolate this horse from other horses, even though it may have already been in contact with them, start isolation procedures to stop further exposure. It is very important to not mix horses from different groups to accomplish this. Try and isolate the suspect horse without moving other horses from one group to another segregation of horse groups is the key, because this will help you reduce spread if an outbreak starts.
    Check temperatures of all horses on the farm twice daily (fever spikes can be missed if you check once daily). If fevers are detected, then test for EHV-1.
    The value of starting healthy horses on anti-viral treatment when there is no evidence of disease on the farm is questionable. The treatment is expensive, the drug (Valtrex -
    valacyclovir) may have limited availability, and prophylactic therapy against EHM will only work while drug is being administered. Therefore it is more likely to be effective if
    administered when fever is first detected (see below).

    3. What anti-viral treatments can I use against EHM on a farm?
    If EHM is present on a farm, then the risk to other horses at that farm is greatly increased. Stringent quarantine and biosecurity procedures must be implemented immediately.
    Treatment of horses with clinical neurological disease (EHM) is largely supportive the use of anti-viral drugs is not known to be of value at this stage. Use of anti-inflammatory drugs is recommended: flunixin meglumine (0.5 to 1 mg/kg, IV, q 24 hours).
    For horses on the farm that develop fever, test EHV-1 positive, or have a high risk of exposure, anti-viral drugs may decrease the chance of developing EHM.
    Currently, the treatment of choice in a febrile EHV-1 infected horse to prevent the development of EHM is Valacyclovir (Valtrex), given orally. The use of oral acyclovir is unlikely to be of any value, as it is not absorbed from the GI tract.
    We currently recommend Valacyclovir (Valtrex) for prophylactic therapy at a dose of 30 mg/kg q 8 hr for two days, then 20 mg/kg q 12 hr for 1-2 weeks. Maintain on higher dose rate if the horse is still febrile. This is an expensive drug, and daily treatment costs can typically be $20-300 per day. Generic forms of Valacyclovir may be available, and may be marginally cheaper.
    The use of Valacyclovir in horses that have already developed signs of EHM is questionable at this time, in that circumstance the use of intravenous Ganciclovir is preferable as it may have greater potency against the disease. The dose of Ganciclovir is 2.5 mg/kg q 8 hr IV for one day then 2.5 mg/kg q 12 hr IV for one week.

    4. Is there any value to using booster vaccination against EHV-1 at this time.
    Unfortunately, there is no evidence at this time that current EHV-1 vaccines can prevent EHM.
    The more potent EHV-1 vaccines have been shown to reduce nasal shedding and in some cases reduce viremia. These products may therefore have some theoretical value against EHM (by reducing viremia), and certainly against spread of the virus.
    The more potent EHV-1 vaccines include: Rhinomune, or Calvenza EHV, Boehringer Animal Health; Pneumabort-K, Pfizer Animal Health; Prodigy Intervet Schering-Plough Animal Health.
    If horses on the farm are previously vaccinated against EHV-1 then booster vaccination should quickly increase immunity, and perhaps reduce spread of EHV-1 if it is present.
    Vaccination in these circumstances is controversial, as some authorities speculate that immunity to EHV-1 may play a role in the development of EHM. While this is unproven, it remains a possibility. The use of vaccination is therefore a risk-based decision.
    Additional sources of information are listed below. Until we know more about this outbreak, caution is recommended at all times to reduce spread of infection. Movement of horses on and off farms should be limited whenever possible.
    Sources of information:
    Brochure you can give to clients:
    http://www.aphis.usda.gov/vs/nahss/equine/ehv/equine_herpesvirus_brochure_2009.pdf
    Websites with well organized EHV-1 information:
    University of California, Davis, School Vet Med detailed and practical information
    about handling sick horses, diagnostic testing, and control
    http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/ceh/ehv1_general.cfm
    Background paper:
    ACVIM EHV-1 consensus statement current detailed information about the virus,
    neurological disease, and control.
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1939-1676.2009.0304.x/pdf
    D. Paul Lunn, Lutz Goehring & Paul S. Morley
    Department of Clinical Sciences
    CVMBS
     
  2. May 20, 2011
    big brown horse

    big brown horse Hoof In Mouth

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    We were just talking about this at the feed store today. :/
     
  3. May 20, 2011
    Sunny

    Sunny Lovin' The Homestead

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    I heard about this too. I was going to post something about it. But didnt know if there was already a thread.

    Last I heard there was some cases in Washington State, dont know how many. California had at least 10. And I have heard there is one or two in Oregon. One was already in seperated from other horses and being watched closely..
     
  4. May 20, 2011
    big brown horse

    big brown horse Hoof In Mouth

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    Gee whiz, I was just about to have one of my horses 'tuned up' at the stable where my daughter takes lessons. They haul horses all about for horse shows. I may have to rethink that idea for a while. :/
     
  5. May 20, 2011
    MsPony

    MsPony Lovin' The Homestead

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    Rethink until end of June BBH, all rides and events here have been cancelled. Swinger isn't going anywhere :p

    (Btw, regarding other horse matters, I haven't forgotten. This weekend I found out my oldest mare is going to greener pastures soon and I haven't really been on earth until today.)
     
  6. May 20, 2011
    Wifezilla

    Wifezilla No-Carb Queen

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    This has shown up in Colorado. I first read about it on craigslist of all places. Someone places a warning in the farm section. I guess there was some big competition around here recently and one of the horses had it.
     
  7. May 20, 2011
    ksalvagno

    ksalvagno Almost Self-Reliant

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    The national alpaca show is in Colorado this year and they even warned alpaca breeders about it. Apparently alpacas can catch it too.
     
  8. May 20, 2011
    MsPony

    MsPony Lovin' The Homestead

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    I *believe* some reining horses from Bakersfield went to nationals in Ogden, CO? Or was it Utah? Anyways, everyone brought it back unknowingly.
     
  9. May 20, 2011
    MsPony

    MsPony Lovin' The Homestead

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    I also want to stress,

    DO NOT VACCINATE!!

    Not only is there no vax for this strain, but vaxing breaks the immune system for 30 days, making your horse vulnerable to any disease, let alone this. Up his immune boosting supps if anything.

    (I mean don't vax right now, people are going hogwild.)
     
  10. May 20, 2011
    old fashioned

    old fashioned Almost Self-Reliant

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    This has been all over the news since yesterday. I was going to post if there wasn't one already. I haven't caught the whole news story yet, but yes there are some (?) cases here in W WA and it's supposed to be HIGHLY contagious.
    I wonder, do they have face(muzzle) masks for horses like for humans? And if so, would it be an effective protection?
     

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