Virus forces OSU's animal hospital to halt medical services for horses

Oregon State University is temporarily shutting down the medical services they provide to horses and alpacas because the university is treating a horse in the animal hospital for Equine Herpes Virus 1.

Posted: Nov 10, 2017 7:09 AM

CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Oregon State University is temporarily shutting down the medical services they provide to horses and alpacas because the university is treating a horse in the animal hospital for Equine Herpes Virus 1.

Erica McKenzie, a professor and veterinarian at OSU's Teaching Hospital, said the virus is naturally occurring, but this one is a mutated strand.

McKenzie said they admitted the horse on November 1. She said it usually takes two weeks for them to recover.

McKenzie said 90 to 100 percent of horses will contract the virus before they are 2 years old and they usually don't show any clinical signs.

She said the horse infected with EHV-1 is being treated with anti-inflammatory drugs to control damage to the spinal cord and brain. She said it looks like the horse will make a full recovery.

"The horse that was admitted to the hospital was always treated with precautions appropriate for infectious diseases, but given the contagious nature of this disease and the potentially severe consequences we have elected not to have cases that do not require urgent care into the hospital at this time," McKenzie said.

McKenzie said when horses show respiratory signs, the disease is typically short-lived. Other symptoms include uncoordinated movements, weak tail tone, difficulty urinating, fever and nasal discharge.

She said the virus is curable, but if not treated it could be deadly.

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