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Infection with EHV-2 and EHV-5 in horses

 Herpes infection in young Lipizzaner in herding

Vienna – mechentel news – Young Lipizzaner, housed in free stalls are at an increased risk of herpes infection. This is the result of a herd survey conducted by Mag. Med. Vet. James Rushton et al. University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna. A herd of Lipizzaners (n=266) in three locations [Federal stud Piber (Styria), Heldenberg (Lower Austria) and the Spanish Riding School Vienna (Vienna)] were examined for ocular diseases and tested for herpesviruses (HVs) in PBMCs, nasal- and conjunctival swabs. In 167 (62.8%) horses equid herpesvirus-2 (EHV-2) nucleic acid was identified in at least one of the investigated samples, and 136 (51.1%) horses were positive for equid herpesvirus-5 (EHV-5) nucleic acid in at least one of the samples. One hundred and five (39.5%) of the horses mentioned above were identified with EHV-2/EHV-5 double infections. The results were correlated with potential influence factors such as age, gender, location, and housing. Statistical analysis demonstrated a significantly higher percentage of horses diagnosed with HV infections stabled in one location (Piber); also, housing in free stalls was associated with a higher rate of HV infections. Horses carrying EHV-2 or EHV-5 nucleic acid were significantly younger than the negative group. Statistical analysis of PCR results and ophthalmic findings did not prove a significant association between any disease pattern and presence of the equid gammaherpesviruses EHV-2 and EHV-5. The results of this herd survey indicate was published in the february issue of the journal Veterinary Microbiology. Horses younger than eight years of age, housed in free stalls with high population densities have a significantly increased risk for infection with EHV-2 and EHV-5. However no prediction can be made whether this results in ophthalmic disease. This is the first ophthalmic-virologic survey of this magnitude in a single horse breed.

Authors: Rushton JO, Kolodziejek J, Tichy A, Nell B, Nowotny N. Correspondence: Clinic for Surgery,
Dentistry and Ophthalmology, Department of Companion Animals and Horses, University of Veterinary
Medicine Vienna, Veterinaerplatz 1, 1210 Vienna, Austria; Viral Zoonoses, Emerging and Vector-Borne 
Infections Group, Institute of Virology, Department of Pathobiology, University of Veterinary Medicine
Vienna, Veterinaerplatz 1, 1210 Vienna, Austria. Study: Detection of equid herpesviruses 2 and 5 in a
herd of 266 Lipizzaners in association with ocular findings. Source: Vet Microbiol. 2013 Feb 4. pii: S0378-
1135(13)00087-4. doi: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2013.01.035. Web: