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Suspected Equine Herpes Cases Reported in Tenn

Updated 5/29/12: There have been no new reports of suspected cases of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) stemming from the Bucksnort Trail ride held April 23-30 in Humphreys County since the update on Monday, May 14. To date, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture has received a total of nine reports of suspected or confirmed cases of EHV-1 in Tennessee horses. The neurological form of EHV-1 has been confirmed in one case. Six of the suspected cases have been confirmed as showing clinical signs of the disease and are being isolated and monitored. In two cases, horses have been humanely euthanized.

The State Veterinarian's office has obtained a list and has contacted each participant to make them aware of possible exposure. Restrictions on horses that attended this event are being evaluated on a case-by-case basis. The event drew approximately 100 horses from multiple states and animal health officials have also been notified in those states.

The spread of EHV-1 can be effectively controlled through good biosecurity practices and isolation of affected horses. Other trail rides and show events are not affected at this time; however, event organizers and participants should use their discretion in planning activities and implement good biosecurity measures (see recommendations below) as a precaution.

List of Suspected or Confirmed Cases by County:

Note: The transmission of this disease is primarily through direct exposure to an infected horse. Unless you have reason to believe that your horse has been in direct contact with a known case, the risk of exposure is very low. Precautions have been taken in all known cases to quarantine horses for a period of 21 days with testing or 28 days without testing to minimize the risk to other horses in the area.


Recommendations for Horse Owners Who Attended the Bucksnort Trail Ride:

If you participated in this event, as a precaution you should not move your horse from your premises for 21 days after potential exposure which occurred April 23 - 30.

Isolate and monitor your horse's health for 7 to 10 days by obtaining a rectal temperature twice daily during this time. Contact your veterinarian if your horse's temperature exceeds 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit or if other clinical symptoms develop.

Consult your veterinarian about preventative health measures such as vaccinations.

Recommendations for Veterinarians:

Horses exhibiting clinical symptoms of EHV-1 should be reported immediately to the State Veterinarian's office at 615-837-5120. A quarantine order will be issued to isolate and monitor the affected horse for either 21 days with testing or 28 days without, following resolution of symptoms.

Symptoms of Neurological EHV-1:

Equine Herpes Virus is highly contagious among horses but poses no threat to humans. The symptoms in horses may include a fever, nasal discharge, wobbly gait, hind-end weakness, dribbling of urine and diminished tail tone. The virus is easily spread by airborne transmission, horse-to-horse contact and by contact with nasal secretions on equipment, tack, feed and other surfaces. Caretakers can spread the virus to horses if their hands, clothing, shoes or vehicles are contaminated. The virus can cause aborted foals and can be fatal in some cases.

Biosecurity Practices:

Horse owners should practice good biosecurity such as using your own trailer and equipment, not letting your horse touch other people's horses, disinfecting shoes and equipment, washing hands after helping others with their horses and limiting access to your farm. A downloadable brochure about horse biosecurity is available from the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services at

Additional Resources:

A Guide To Understanding the Neurologic Form of EHV Infection

USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service Resources

American Association of Equine Practitioners Fact Sheet