No, we aren’t reporting on safe sex practices in the horse world—we’re talking about Equine Herpes Virus 1, abbreviated EHV-1. This is a naturally occurring virus that can cause serious illness in horses. Just this month, the Oregon State University Veterinary School diagnosed a horse with the neurological form of this nasty virus. The horse is currently isolated at the Lois Bates Acheson Veterinary Teaching Hospital.
The Oregon Department of Agriculture has quarantined the property in Marion County where the affected horse was housed. The horse had recently been used in events held at the Linn County Fairgrounds in Albany and the Oregon Equestrian Center in Eugene, according to the state veterinarian. So far, no other horses that attended those events have shown any symptoms.
EHV-1 is not transmissible to people but can be extremely dangerous to horses. The Oregon Department of Agriculture recommends that horses that were present at Eugene or Albany events avoid contact with other horses and have their temperatures checked twice daily.
John Schlipf, a large animal internal medicine specialist with the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine, reminds horse owners and enthusiasts “…although EHV-1 is not transmissible to humans, people can spread the virus on their hands and clothing if in contact with an infected horse.”