Equine Herpes Virus case in Kent

There has been a suspected case of Equine Herpes Virus-1 (EHV-1) neurological disease in a 19 year old horse at Arran Bank Stables in Bredhurst, Kent ME7 3ND. The horse developed signs on 31st March (sudden onset of weakness, inco-ordination and dribbling urine) when turned out in a paddock. This subsequently progressed to recumbency, and sadly the horse needed to be put to sleep. Subsequent blood test results suggested that the cause of the disease was EHV-1 neurological disease (proper name “Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy”).

This is a potentially contagious disease, and the yard is now on full lockdown. Horses in the yard that may have been in direct or indirect contact with the case are being tested by having swabs and blood samples taken. The affected horse was attended by vets from Newnham Court Equine Clinic, and we are working together with Newnham Court to manage the situation – in order to minimise the risk of spread and reduce the number of people going into the yard, Newnham Court vets are undertaking all of the sampling of horses on the yard, and we will liaise with them when the results become available.

Unfortunately, some horses from Arran Bank Stables attended local events and shows over Easter before it was apparent that this was a likely case of EHV-1 neurological disease; these horses have been tested. Any owners of horses that may have been in contact with those horses from Arran Bank are also being traced, but at the present time we do not believe that any other horses were in close contact with horses from Arran Bank (EHV-1 is quite similar in the way that it spreads to Covid-19 – i.e. close contact (in horses this means nose to nose contact or being close to an infected horse in the same airspace for a period of time).

EHV-1 is a very common virus infection in horses, but thankfully in the vast majority of cases infection causes only very mild respiratory disease. However, there are rare strains of the virus that can cause serious disease including neurological disease and abortion. You can find more information about EHV-1 on our website: (https://www.bellequine.co.uk/faqs/equine-herpes-virus-ehv).

If you are concerned that your horse may have been in contact with one of the horses from Arran Bank Stables over the last two weeks, then you are advised to isolate the horses and have it tested – please contact us to discuss. For everyone else, please be aware that there is a very small risk that EHV-1 could spread to other horses outside of the affected yard. Remember to be fastidious with hygiene and bio-security at all times.

We would like to thank the owners of Arran Bank Stables for their assistance in managing this difficult situation.

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact BELL EQUINE.

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