Archive for March 2013

No need to panic over Equine Herpes Virus!

A few horses have been identified with neurological equine herpes virus this year in the west of the country. Sporadic cases are not uncommon in the UK so this in itself is not that unusual. However, the proximity (in both time and location) to a major equestrian event has raised the profile of these cases and consequently there will be an article in tomorrow’s Horse and Hound discussing equine herpes virus. The cases that have been identified in the west have been isolated and all appropriate measures have been taken to control any disease spread.

An article in this week’s Horse and Hound aims to provide a balanced discussion of the exceedingly complicated issues surrounding equine herpes virus but above all we would advise you not to panic and to call us if you would like to discuss the situation on your yard specifically. Although the disease can be very serious and should not be taken lightly, the risk to horses in our area currently is thankfully very low.

 Naturally, many people are keen to provide as much protection as possible for their horses and are asking about vaccination. Currently the vaccine for equine herpes virus is not available but importation of further vaccine stocks is planned so vaccination may become an option in the near future. The vaccine is designed to prevent abortion in broodmares but can be used to reduce the risk of the other forms of the disease i.e. respiratory infection and neurological signs (the latter being the most serious). The vaccine does not offer complete protection to the individual but may reduce the severity of disease and reduces the amount of virus that is spread if a horse becomes infected and thereby reduces the risk to other horses. The vaccine is very safe so in situations where there are broodmares or large numbers of horses coming and going then the costs may be outweighed by the potential benefits. Other than cost, there is a suggestion that vaccination may (and this is a very controversial point) increase the risk of neurological disease if the horse is already infected. As there have not been any outbreaks in our area this is not a concern currently.

Is your horse/pony at risk of laminitis?

If your horse or pony is prone to laminitis, it’s important to test for Cushing’s disease. 9 out of 10 laminitis cases are caused by an underlying hormonal disease. And despite the common perception that Cushing’s disease is solely a condition of older horses and ponies, new data shows that up to one-third of 10- to 15-year-olds may be affected.
The laboratory fees for Cushing’s testing are FREE until the end of June.

Blood test vouchers are available at

Laboratory Newsletter March 2013

Please see below for our latest newsletter:

March 2013 Laboratory Newsletter