Maryland is now officially three weeks clear, as there have been no new cases of Equine Herpes Virus-1 (EHV-1) reported since April 19, when two horses stabled at Days End Farm Horse Rescue in Howard County tested positive for the non-neuropathogenic strain of the virus. The farm was placed on 30-day quarantine when the first case was confirmed on April 18. There has been no movement of horses on or off the farm since that date. No other EHV-1 cases have been reported in Maryland.
The farm is fully cooperating with the Maryland Department of Agriculture. The farm’s attending veterinarian and animal health inspectors from the Department have been closely monitoring all horses on the farm and have found no new cases of the virus. The quarantined farm has taken additional measures to prevent the spread of EHV-1 by enacting strict biosecurity protocols, helping to ensure that no visitors or vendors carry the disease onto other farms. The quarantine is expected to be lifted on May 19, pending no additional EHV-1 cases on the farm.
“We have reached out to veterinarians, horse owners and stables across the state since the case was confirmed last month. No other EHV-1 cases have been reported in Maryland,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Michael Radebaugh. “We have no reason to believe that the disease has spread beyond this specific farm. Horses are latent carriers of the EHV-1 virus, and under certain conditions, horses will breakout with this disease. In Maryland, we experience a few isolated cases of EHV-1 every year.”
Stable owners in Howard County and surrounding areas have reached out to The Equiery, upset that MDA had not reached out to them, despite public statements such as the one above. The Equiery has confirmed that MDA can only officially reach out to those stables which are licensed with the MDA’s Maryland Horse Industry Board. Any stable which has even one boarder is required by law to be licensed by MDA/MHIB. Advantages to being licensed includes being notified of equine health emergencies, being eligible for various cost share programs for farm improvements, and being able to access marketing opportunities to grow your business (although some small boarding operations might not care about that last benefit, but the first two are important!). Click here for more information about becoming licensed.
Recent cancellations of equine events around the state have led to a heightened level of concern; however, these were precautionary measures taken by the event organizers, and not by the Department. The Howard County Cup Races were held this past Saturday, May 7, and saw no negative impact on entries.
Though the virus appears to be contained, the Department reminds all horse owners to remain vigilant in protecting the health of their animals. If a horse displays symptoms of EHV-1, veterinarians should call the department’s Animal Health program at 410-841-5810 or 410-841-5971 (after hours). EHV-1 is a reportable disease in Maryland.