December 2006

After last year’s outbreak of equine herpesvirus, which claimed the lives of six Maryland horses, the Maryland Department of Agriculture issued a new reporting requirement for Maryland veterinarians on so-called “Equine Neurologic Syndrome.” Because neurological symptoms can occur with many different ailments, causing some confusion, the MDA has released a more precise definition of this syndrome.

When the MDA first added this syndrome to its list of reportable diseases on March 1, it was described as an “equine neurologic disease likely caused by an infectious process (not by developmental problems, trauma or toxic situations) consistent with rabies, equine herpesvirus, viral encephalitidies such as West Nile, Eastern and Western Equine and others. Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis is not a primary disease of interest in this reporting requirement, although it is likely to meet the clinical definition [that] will trigger reporting.”

On the MDA website, Equine Neurologic Syndrome is now defined as “horses with central neurologic signs in the absence of noninfectious cause or where infectious cause is suspected or cannot be ruled out.”