Monday, July 18, 2011

ehv-1 hysteria, what did we learn?

Well, the excitement and hysteria has past, I think. So I am left wondering what we have learned. I have learned that many times, we don't want to believe the truth, we would rather believe the facts that generate emotion and excitement. The truth can be rather dull sometimes. SO what is the truth about EHV-1. Truth is, 80% of the horse population HAS the virus in their systems. They cannot get rid of it. In the same way that many of us harbor the herpes virus that causes cold sores. When we get stressed, or sick, that is when the virus makes itself manifest, by producing cold sores. Well, the EHV-1 virus is a herpes virus. As such the immune system of the horse cannot get rid of it. But just because your horse has the virus, (and it probably does), does not mean that it has the disease. Fact is, the vast majority of horses will never have THE disease, but they will harbor the virus. As we vaccinate against this virus, the object is not to get rid of the virus (we can't), but to keep it under control. A good example is the 3 Rhino vaccinations we give mares through their gestation. (the rhinopneumonitis virus is the EHV-1,4 virus).
Their is some anecdotal (unproven) evidence that horses vaccinated with two certain types of "high" antigen, or Modified live virus vaccines may have a lower incidence of this neurological form of herpes virus disease. Call me if you want to know more. (you're probably sick of hearing about this anyway, right?) Anyway, I have the answers without any excitement and hysteria. (boring)
Sad thing is, most of the horse events around the country didn't need to be cancelled. There is no containing a virus that the general population carries anyway. Oh well, I will stop there. I could be accused of not caring, but knowledge is power right? That is how I have stayed calm  throughout this storm.
I did hear reports of Veterinarians that were testing horses for the virus. If the horse came back positive, then treatment was initiated. Wrong!! Remember, most horses will TEST positive, but if they have no symptoms, they are just carriers, just like 80% of the horse population. The only thing treatment will do is empty your pocket book!
Have nice ride!