1. Isolate potentially affected horses
Infected horses may not show symptoms straight away. Horses returning from events where cases of EHV have been suspected or found should be treated with caution and isolated from other horses for at least 30 days. Talk to your vet and try to take the horses temperature twice daily as a raised temperature is usually the first sign of infection.
2. Disinfect (everything!)
Indirect spread of the equine herpesvirus through shared equipment, tack, clothing, footwear and your hands can be a nightmare to control around the yard. Disinfection of all hard surfaces regularly should be part of a yard routine and even more important when your horse’s health is at risk.
3. Reduce stress
Isolation of horses can increase stress so it's important that horses are at least able to see other horses and kept occupied. Vigilant care should be taken in monitoring the horses to ensure stress is kept to a minimum as stress can weaken the horse's immune system increasing the risk of infection.
Make sure everyone understands biosecurity principles to ensure the spread of infection is limited as much as possible. This might include security, hygiene and disinfection best practices. Contact your vet for specific advice.
Keep an up-to-date yard diary, record temperatures, vaccine status and horse movements to ensure the information is accessible to anyone who needs it, for example your vet.
Equine herpesvirus (EHV) is a family of DNA viruses found in most horses, however, most of the time there are no serious effects. Occasionally a strain of EHV such as strain 1 can have serious neurological (the brain) effects on horses, sometimes resulting in death.
How the virus spreads:
Much like Covid19, EHV is contagious and spread easily by direct horse-to-horse contact. The virus can also be spread indirectly through contaminated object, hands, tack, equipment or clothing. The virus can travel through the air up to approximately 5 meters, it is difficult to measure how far exactly so it always pays to take note of some basic biosecurity steps to prevent exposure.