Equine Herpes Virus 2021

There has been a serious outbreak of the EHV-1 strain of Equine Herpes Virus on the Continent, over 80 equines have tested positive, horses have had to be hospitalised and a number have died.

Equine Herpes Virus is spread mainly by nasal droplets which means it can be spread easily by animals between themselves, people that have been with infected animals (accidentally on their unwashed hands and clothing) or by sharing unsterilised horseboxes, stables, tack and feed equipment that has been used by infected animals.  It is important for the health and wellbeing of your equine that you follow guidance on biosecurity detailed below:

Your equine is at risk if in the last 30 days it has been imported to the UK from mainland Europe, had contact with equines that have been imported from mainland Europe or used a transporter that has transported equines from mainland Europe.

If your equine is at risk you should monitor for clinical signs (including twice daily temperature checks) before allowing the animal to come into contact with other horses and isolate the equine for a minimum of 28 days (assuming it remains free from symptoms).

If your equine starts to develop any of the following symptoms you should call your Vet and isolate the equine until two consecutive tests (serum samples and paired nasopharyngeal swabs) have been taken and tested a minimum of 10 days apart, to demonstrate that the equine is free from the disease – your vet will help you with these.

Symptoms of EHV-1

The signs of EHV-1 you should look for include;

  • raised temperature
  • lack of appetite (inappetence)
  • tiredness and/or lack of energy (lethargy)
  • runny nose (nasal discharge)
  • coughing
  • other signs may range from slight hind limb weakness through to paralysis (these are known as ‘neurological signs’)

Important note: You should contact your vet immediately if you suspect your equine may be infected with EHV-1.

Remember the virus can lie dormant and subsequently re-emerge when an equine is stressed at a later date (such as when transported or mixed with new equines).

Other helpful information and guidance can be found at:

HBLB Codes of Practice

British Equestrian

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