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Going viral: be vigilant Ask the Vet

by daniel h. grove, dvm I

n the United States, we have two viruses that are currently a hot topic for those of us traveling with our horses. The first

is Equine Herpes Virus. I have discussed this previously in this forum. It is a group of viruses from the herpes family. There are nine different known varieties, but three of them are the most important, 1, 3, and 4. They can cause respiratory disease, neuro- logical disease, venereal disease and abor- tion, depending upon which one you are dealing with. There are vaccines available to protect our horses. Vaccination along with bio-security are your best tools to prevent this being an issue for your horse. The other hot topic virus is Vesicular

Stomatitis Virus. It is a litle more con- cerning as it affects many different species

A monthly column by Daniel H. Grove, DVM

Got a question for Dr. Grove? Send your inquiries to, and it could be answered by Dr. Grove in a future column. Dr. Grove is based at West Coast Equine Medicine, headquartered in Fallbrook, Calif., where he lives with his wife Kristen.

including us humans. It tends to cause blis- ter like lesions in the oral cavity, on the nose, on the lips, and sometimes on areas like the coronary bands or genitalia. Unfortunately, there is not a vaccine currently for this dis- ease. Bio-security is going to be your best strategy to reduce your risk of your horse contracting.

Bio-Security is oſten overlooked when we

travel with our horses. Here are some tips to keep fresh in your mind.

1) Disinfect your stalls. If they have not been stripped, first strip them of any manure and old bedding. Then, using a phe- nol compound, spray down the entire stall. Make sure to clean out the waterer prior to allowing your horse to drink from it.

2) Limit the contact your horse

has with other horses. Do not share community watering troughs. Organisms can be leſt from previous visitors for your animal to ingest and become infected.

3) When booking your stalls,

consider booking two extra stalls so there can be a space between your horse and the neighbors

4) Do not allow your horse to

have nose to nose contact with others. Nasal secretions are


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going to harbor many of the respiratory viruses and bacteria that can infect your horse

5) Fly control-batery operated fly sprayers

and removal of the manure to minimize flies and other insects will limit their ability to transfer organisms to your animal

6) Do not share bridles, brushes or other

equipment with others 7) Limit your exposure to other horses at

the events. There are organisms you can transfer from your clothing and skin to your horse if you are around horses that are infected

8) Do not allow people to pet or feed your

horses. Chances are they were just touching another horse and could transmit some- thing to yours.

As the show season is drawing down, stay

vigilant in keeping your athlete safe. Booster your vaccines and take steps to reduce the risk of infection by puting into place a bio-security plan with your veterinarian.






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