Athens, Ga. – The Large Animal Hospital at the University of Georgia has reopened its emergency services and will resume seeing regular appointments again on Feb. 22.
UGA’s Large Animal Hospital has been temporarily closed since Feb. 2 due to a quarantine for equine herpesvirus. On the evening of Jan. 31, a horse was admitted to the large animal intensive care unit at the UGA Veterinary Teaching Hospital and was humanely euthanized on Feb. 1 due to progressive neurological disease. On the morning of Feb. 2, this horse tested positive for equine herpesvirus-1, or EHV-1. All of the horses that remained at the hospital as part of its quarantine have tested negative for EHV-1 and are currently being released to their home barns.
“The only positive case of equine herpesvirus at our facility was the original infected horse that was admitted into the hospital on Jan. 31. This indicates that the virus was contained to that one individual horse,” said Dr. Gary Baxter, associate dean for clinical services in the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine. “I am extremely proud of how our hospital personnel responded to this incident and am thankful for the support of the equine and veterinary community. While closing a part of our facility is never ideal, we wanted to take every possible precaution to help ensure the safety of the Georgia horse population.”
EHV-1 is a type of equine herpesvirus infection. It is highly contagious to other horses and can cause abortion, respiratory disease and neurologic disease. However, because the virus is species specific, it does not affect humans.
The university worked closely with the State Veterinarian’s Office and other experts on equine herpesvirus throughout its quarantine. All recommendations were followed, and it was agreed that now the quarantine should be lifted.
For more information regarding equine herpesvirus-1, symptoms, monitoring, prevention and control, visit the American Association of Equine Practitioners’ website at http://www.aaep.org/info/owners.