Published Date: 2011-04-02 13:21:11
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Equine herpesvirus, equine - USA: (NY) Cornell University
Archive Number: 20110402.1021
EQUINE HERPESVIRUS, EQUINE – USA: (NEW YORK) CORNELL UNIVERSITY
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: 1 Apr 2011
Source: Cornell University [edited]
Equine Hospital: Current Operating Status and FAQs
Current Operating Status
We are currently accepting only emergency cases and those that would
be placed in our isolation facility. In cooperation with the State
Veterinarian, the Cornell University Hospital for Animals' equine
barns are under voluntary quarantine status, with restricted access
and biosecurity protocols in place. This is in response to a confirmed
case of equine herpes virus, a virus that routinely circulates in the
general horse population. Movement of animals between the equine barns
and other Cornell facilities is not permitted.
The diagnosis of equine herpes virus does not impact the Companion
Animal or Farm Animal Hospital. These hospitals remain open and
operating under normal conditions, as equine herpes virus does not
affect dogs, cats, cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, or birds. Alpacas and
llamas might be affected and therefore we are also restricting
admission of those species. As equine herpes virus is not a zoonotic
agent, people are not at risk for contracting the virus.
We believe there is a low risk of exposure, but we are taking every
precaution. We hope the following information will be helpful to horse
owners and to veterinarians.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for horse owners
Q. Why has the equine hospital placed itself under quarantine?
A. The voluntary quarantine is in response to a confirmed case of
equine herpes virus. We believe there is a low risk of exposure, but
out of an abundance of caution, the Equine Hospital barns are under
Q. Have the Farm Animal Hospital or Companion Animal Hospital been
A. No. They are operating at normal status. The equine herpes virus
does not affect dogs, cats, cattle, sheep, goats, or pigs, birds.
Alpacas and llamas might be affected and therefore we are also
restricting admission of those species.
Q. My horse has been at Cornell. How will I know if I need to worry?
A. Horses that were discharged from the Cornell Equine Hospital prior
to 18 Mar 2011 were not exposed to known cases in our hospital. We are
presently contacting horse owners whose horses could possibly have
been exposed to known equine herpes virus. We have contacted all
referring veterinarians who referred horses to our facility during
this time period. This virus also routinely circulates in the general
Q. Is there an outbreak?
A. No, it is not an outbreak.
Q. Where can I get more information about equine herpes virus?
FAQs for for veterinarians
Q. Should I isolate a horse that has been at Cornell?
A. It is always recommended that horses returning from veterinary
hospitals be isolated when possible. If horses can be isolated and
have not yet been, isolation is recommended.
Q. How often should I temp?
A. Twice a day for 10 days; remember to keep good records.
Q. Should I vaccinate the horses?
A. If there is a high risk, you should not vaccinate, but should
monitor temperatures. With temperatures of 102 degrees Fahrenheit or
greater, PCR of the nasal passages area could be done.
Q. If I want to culture them, how should I do that?
A. Culturing for viruses is a good means for diagnosis, but PCR is
much quicker and sensitive in this case. PCR done on a nasal swab
would be the recommended test.
Q. What is the best test?
A. PCR done on a nasal swab is the recommended test.
Q. What is the best sample?
A. Nasal swab provides better results for determining shedding of the
virus. EDTA blood is also a good source for PCR and viral isolation,
but the optimum sample is always nasal swabs.
Q. How should I take a nasal sample for PCR?
A. A synthetic-tipped swab is preferred, but cotton is acceptable.
This can be just a routine length culturette; it does not have to be a
nasal pharyngeal swab using a broodmare endometrial culturette. It
should be used to swab the nasal passages of the horse. The sample
should be placed in viral transport media if available. If not, place
swab into a plain red-top blood tube with one to two drops of sterile
saline. Do not put large amounts of saline into tube. Ship overnight
on an ice pack to a diagnostic laboratory. Cornell performs the PCR
for equine herpes virus. Visit http://ahdc.vet.cornell.edu/test/
Q. Where do I get information about equine herpes virus?
A. Please refer to the American Association of Equine Practitioners
(includes biosafety guidelines):
In addition, you can find information here:
Karyn L. Bischoff
[The Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine serves as a
referral hospital as well as teaching hospital. Realizing that horses
referred to the teaching hospital may require surgery or other
intensive treatments, the hospital is being extremely cautious
regarding unlikely but possible exposure to equine herpes virus.
More information on equine herpesvirus can be found in ProMED-mail
post 20091212.4227. Readers are encouraged to read it. - Mod.TG]