Three Tips to Protect Your Horse From EHV-1

Hunter jumper horses waiting for a class at a horse show

It’s important to think ahead about EHV-1, especially before show season.

Equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1) is a highly contagious virus that affects horses and other equids, such as donkeys and mules. The virus is spread through respiratory secretions, such as nasal discharge and saliva, as well as through contact with contaminated objects, such as feed and water buckets. EHV-1 can cause a range of clinical signs in horses, including fever, loss of appetite, nasal discharge, and impaired coordination. In severe cases, it can cause respiratory distress, abortions in pregnant mares, and even death.

To prevent the spread of EHV-1, horse owners should take the following steps:

  1. Vaccinate your horses: There is a vaccine available for EHV-1, and it is recommended that all horses be routinely vaccinated to protect against the virus. The vaccine is typically given in a series of two or three doses, depending on the horse’s age and previous vaccination history.
  2. Practice good hygiene: It is important to regularly clean and disinfect your horses’ living environment, including their stalls, feed and water buckets, and any other equipment that comes into contact with their respiratory secretions. This can help prevent the spread of EHV-1 and other infectious diseases.
  3. Limit horse-to-horse contact: To prevent the spread of EHV-1, it is important to limit contact between horses as much as possible. This means avoiding sharing equipment, such as grooming tools and water buckets, and avoiding exposing your horse to other horses that may be infected with the virus.

By following these tips, horse owners can help prevent the spread of EHV-1 and protect their equine companions from this potentially deadly virus. It is always a good idea to consult with a veterinarian for the latest recommendations on preventing EHV-1 and other infectious diseases in horses.