Equine Herpes Vaccination (EHV 1,4)
Equine Herpes Virus causes three distinct disease syndromes
The most common form is the respiratory disease, which most horses and ponies are likely to suffer from at some point in their life. The symptoms include a raised temperature, nasal discharge, cough and poor performance.
EHV 1,4 is one of the most common infectious cause of abortion in the horse in the UK.
Mares can become infected with EHV 1,4 up to 100 days before an abortion may occur. Thus in a stud situation, by the time the first abortion occurs, all the mares on the stud may have already been infected. The neurological form is relatively rare. The clinical signs usually start with a weakness or progressive paralysis of the hindlimbs. This may progress to the forelimbs, and lead to recumbency and death.
There are two vaccination schemes. The first protects against the respiratory/poor performance syndrome; the second protects mares against the abortion syndrome. Owners should consider vaccinating with this schedule if their horse is regularly mixing with others e.g. competing. This vaccination scheme does give protection against the respiratory form but it is unclear if it will provide protection against the neurological form.