ECTRA Recommendations on EHV Prevention

As there continue to be Equine Herpes Virus (EHV) outbreaks in the US, most recently in California, the Veterinary Committee and ECTRA Board feel there is still a need for enhanced preventative and bio-security measures at our rides.

EHV is a highly infectious virus that can cause a mild respiratory illness but also in its severest forms, abortion and an often fatal neurologic disease.

The virus is shed in nasal secretions and can be transmitted between horses by nose-to-nose contact, aerosol droplets or contact with fomites (F/E buckets, troughs, stalls, trailers, contaminated human hands and clothing, etc.).

ECTRA guidelines for riders, ride managers and judges to minimize the risk of horses contracting or spreading the disease:

  1. Vaccination against EHV-1 and EHV-4 is strongly recommended for all entered and buddy horses in consultation with your Veterinarian for a proper vaccine schedule. Vaccination can help reduce nasal shedding of the virus and thus reduce the risk of transmission to other horses. Vaccination requirements at rides are at the discretion of ride management.
  • Monitoring of Rectal Temperature of entered and buddy horses.
  • Rider – take horse’s temperature prior to leaving for ride. If above 101.5F, horse should be examined by a veterinarian before traveling. (If multi-day ride, continue to take temp at least once a day)
  • Ride Managers and Judges – at initial exam consider taking temp, log on scoresheet. If outside normal range (99-101.5 F) recheck (in one hour?)
    • Consider doing a CRI as further health exam. Vet judge to decide if horse can compete.
  • Riders are encouraged to monitor temperatures upon returning home
  • Reminder to all that stress is a major factor in EHV manifestation and shedding.

3.    Bio- Security Suggestions

  • Vet and Lay Judges to use gloves, to be changed or gloved hands sanitized between horses (Alcohol, with water rinse.
  • Thermometers sanitized with alcohol between horses.
  • Communal water is discouraged. Horses should only drink from their own tubs and the water brought from communal water trough with a clean bucket.
  • On Trail Water – add more than the usual number of troughs so that horses can space out.
  • Design flow of horses at P&R and judging area to allow for adequate distancing between horses.
  • Everyone needs to be mindful of ways to keep things safe.
    • Do not allow horses to touch noses/mingle with horses outside their group, rub heads on communal water troughs.
    • Don’t share equipment, buckets, feed tubs.
    • Socially distance your horse (and you!) from others.
    • Avoid touching horses not from your group, especially their nose/ face.
    • Remember to wash your hands.

For further information we refer you to (EDCC and AAEP info). (Ontario Trail Ride Org.) and AERC –

If we can be of any further help, please contact a member of the ECTRA Vet Committee or the Board.