Home News Deadly Horse Disease Outbreak Strikes Two Ohio Counties: Lorain and Pickaway

Deadly Horse Disease Outbreak Strikes Two Ohio Counties: Lorain and Pickaway

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In a concerning development for Ohio’s equine community, cases of Equine Herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1) have been confirmed on two premises, one each in Lorain and Pickaway counties.

The outbreak in Lorain County originated from a small boarding facility where three horses tested positive for EHV-1 after exhibiting neurological symptoms. Tragically, two of the afflicted horses had to be euthanized due to the severity of their condition. However, efforts are underway to treat the third horse, which remains alive. To prevent further spread, eleven horses at the facility have been placed under quarantine.

Meanwhile, in Pickaway County, a 3-year-old Standardbred filly at a training facility displayed neurological signs on March 8 and was euthanized the following day. Laboratory tests later confirmed the presence of EHV-1. Quarantine measures have been implemented in one barn on the premises, with 35 horses identified as potentially exposed.

The Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) Health Watch program, a part of the Equine Network marketing initiative, has been actively monitoring and disseminating verified equine disease reports, including those related to EHV-1 outbreaks. Supported by industry donations, the EDCC strives to provide transparent access to critical infectious disease information within the equine community.

EHV-1, a highly contagious herpesvirus, can manifest in various forms, including respiratory ailments, abortion in pregnant mares, and Equine Herpesvirus Myeloencephalopathy (EHM), which affects the nervous system.

Early detection of EHV-1 infection is challenging, as initial symptoms may include fever, cough, decreased appetite, and depression. Pregnant mares may exhibit no signs before late-term abortions occur. Horses with EHM may initially display fever and respiratory issues before neurological symptoms such as incoordination and paralysis develop.

The virus spreads easily through direct contact, contaminated equipment, or contact with individuals who have been in contact with infected horses. While current vaccines may reduce viral shedding, they do not offer complete protection against neurological EHV-1. Therefore, adhering to stringent biosecurity measures and preventive practices is essential for minimizing disease transmission and safeguarding equine health.