EHV-1 How to Handle a Sick Horse

Isolation of sick horses and early determination of the cause of their symptoms is very important. It is prudent to determine if the horse has been around horses that may have been in a place where EHV-1 has been documented to occur. Infections other than EHV-1 can also spread by horse-to-horse contact, so keeping a horse with a fever isolated is a very good practice in any case.

If your horse develops fever, respiratory signs or neurological signs, immediately notify your veterinarian and do not move the horse or horses in the immediate area. Alert those who have horses in the adjacent area to cease all movement of horses in and out of the facility until a diagnosis is confirmed by testing. If horses are exposed and then travel to a new stable or show, the infection can spread to other horses at that new location.

EHV-1 does not persist in the environment for a long time, but disinfection of premises, stalls, trailers and so forth is indicated. If you handle a horse with EHV-1 and don't wash hands or change clothing, you may spread the infection to other horses. A solution of 1 part chlorine bleach to 10 parts water is effective for decontaminating equipment and environment.

 
 
Center for Equine Health, School of Veterinary Medicine, UC Davis, Tel (530) 752-6433