Horse owners advised to take steps against EHV-1 |

Horse owners advised to take steps against EHV-1

BISMARCK – The North Dakota State Board of Animal Health is reminding horse owners to protect their horses from equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1).

In the last few months, EHV-1 cases have been identified in several states throughout the U.S.

“With summer coming, many horses will be moving to events around the region,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Susan Keller. “Care should be taken when co-mingling horses to minimize the chances of contracting the disease.”

EHV-1 can be spread through the air, contaminated equipment, clothing and hands. Biosecurity measures that can reduce the risk of spreading the disease include avoiding shared food or water containers and preventing nose-to-nose contact.

Out-of-state horses and other equines entering North Dakota for any length of time must be accompanied by a certificate of veterinary inspection, also known as a health certificate.

“Certificates of veterinary inspection reduce the risk of introduction of the disease and help us better monitor the movement of equines into North Dakota,” said Dr. Keller. “We use that information to report disease risks and findings to veterinarians and horse owners in North Dakota.”

EHV-1 can cause respiratory disease, abortion, neonatal death and sometimes the neurologic form of the disease, equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy (EHM). Vaccines are available for the respiratory and abortion forms of EHV-1. They do not reliably prevent the neurologic form, but offer some level of protection.

Although highly infectious and contagious among horses, EHV-1 poses no threat to human health.

–North Dakota Department of Agriculture

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