Texas Animal Health Commission

The state's first positive detection of equine herpes myeloencephalopathy, the neurologic disease linked to equine herpes virus, has been detected in a Parker County Quarter Horse, the Texas Animal Health Commission said this week.

TAHC received confirmation on March 25. The horse was tested after showing neurologic signs consistent with EHM.

TAHC said the premises has been quarantined and TAHC staff are working closely with the owner and a local veterinarian to monitor the infected horse and enforce biosecurity measures.

“The positive horse has not recently attended any events or known to have come in direct contact with horses from other premises,” said Dr. Andy Schwartz, state veterinarian and TAHC executive director. "Since EHM is transmitted through direct horse-to-horse contact, short distance aerosol or contaminated tack, we believe the risk for disease transmission is very low.”

EHM is a neurologic disease of horses linked to the equine herpes virus. Neurological signs appear as a result of damage to blood vessels in the brain and spinal cord. Clinical signs of EHM in horses may include: fever of 102 degrees fahrenheit or greater (fever most often comes before neurologic signs), nasal discharge, lack of coordination, hindquarter weakness, leaning or resting against a fence or wall to maintain balance, lethargy, urine dribbling, head tilt, diminished tail tone and penile paralysis. Diagnostic testing is required to confirm EHV-1 infection.

If you suspect your horse has been exposed to EHV-1, contact your local veterinarian. For more information on EHM, visit www.tahc.texas.gov/news/brochures/TAHCBrochure_EquineHerpesMyeloencephalopathy.pdf. Subsequent Texas EHM cases will be posted on the Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) website, www.equinediseasecc.org/alerts/outbreaks.

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