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Large Animal Removal and Disposal


Common Horse Ailments: Equine Herpesvirus

Properly caring for your horse means knowing about various ailments that may affect it. In this first of an ongoing series, we will take a closer look at some common ailments and the signs to look for, with the first condition being the equine herpesviruses.

What are Equine Herpesviruses?

There are several varieties of equine herpesvirus, with equine herpesvirus-4 being the most common equine virus in the world. The condition typically causes respiratory ailments and, on occasion, neurologic disorders. Equine herpesvirus-1 is also common and can lead to the same types of health conditions. Both strains are most commonly found in yearlings and weanlings. It is believed that older horses may be carriers without showing signs or symptoms. 

How is Equine Herpesvirus Treated and Prevented?

Prevention of equine herpesvirus includes vaccination, the use of hand sanitizers and the use of isolation when dealing with infected horses, and disinfecting common areas shared by your horses. You also should not share tack. 

If your horse becomes infected with equine herpesvirus, it will need to take medication to reduce the symptoms and antibiotics to prevent a secondary infection. If neurological deficits develop, a sling may be needed to keep the horse upright. In extreme situations, food and water may need to be given intravenously. 

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