Cart 0

No products

Total shipping  To be determined

0,00 € Total

Check out

Continue shopping Proceed to checkout

Equine Herpesvirus – stable, stud, equestrian center – how to deal with it?

Published: 2021-03-08 12:27:36 Categories: Guides Rss feed , Horse health Rss feed , Lifestyle Rss feed


Herpesvirus is one of the most dangerous pathogens that horse owners and veterinarians can face. What is herpesvirus and how to lower the risk of its spreading in a stable or riding center? 


The virus was discovered many years ago, but in 2021 it became relevant again by attacking horses on a bigger scale. It became so serious that international competition in Poland was canceled and FEI (Fédération Equestre Internationale) came to a decision to cancel all horse riding competitions for the month of March in 10 European countries. It’s worth remembering that equine herpesvirus has nothing to do with coronavirus. Read our article to find out what herpesvirus is and how to minimize its risks.

Risks of Equine Herpesvirus

Herpesvirus can cause a disease with many varied symptoms. It can be a cause of miscarriage in pregnant mares, neurological and respiratory disorders, or even lead to the death of the animal. Once a horse is infected with herpesvirus it can become a latent virus carrier till the end of its life (the latent virus can become reactivated when a horse is under a lot of stress or after strenuous exercise). Equine herpesvirus can be hard to identify and it’s hard to predict a perfect prognosis as well. Sometimes, a horse can get better after only a day or two. However, sometimes despite the veterinarian’s treatment horses die. That’s why it’s so important to know what horse owners are up against and how to minimize the risk of it spreading in a stable, stud, or equestrian center.


Equine Herpesvirus – what is it?

Scientists discovered nine different strains of herpesvirus, which are marked by numbers from 1 to 9. Each of the strains causes different symptoms. For example, EVH-1 and (probably) EVH-4 give neurological symptoms and respiratory diseases. Incubation of the virus takes around 4-6 days, however, sometimes the symptoms can occur as fast as 24h after infection. Other strains of viruses are also responsible for upper respiratory infections, eye diseases, encephalitis, myelitis, miscarriage in pregnant mares, and death of foals. Unfortunately, there is still a lot to discover about the inner workings of herpesviruses.


The symptoms of herpesvirus are varied (depending on the strain) and often similar to other infections that it’s hard to give a fast diagnosis. Symptoms that should catch your attention include fever, cough, discharge of secretions from the nose and eyes, inactivity, dog sitting position, apathy, lack of appetite, and lack of urination.

The most common form of the disease – the respiratory form – is usually mild and not life-threatening, however, it further spreads the disease to other horses in the stable. Unfortunately, there is a visible spike in the neurological form of the disease, which is the most dangerous one.

How to protect equestrian centers from herpesvirus?

Every stable or riding center is potentially vulnerable to the outbreak of the virus. Herpesvirus is spread by droplets (coughing and snorting) as well as through horse riding tack, clothes, or touch. Less commonly spread by natural mating and artificial insemination. The virus can survive outside the body for up to a few weeks, that’s why it’s so important to clean and disinfect the stable regularly. The biggest threat is posed by dead foals and infected fetuses as well as any secretions from a mare’s vagina, so those instances require fast disinfection.


If a horse is suspected to be infected with herpesvirus, it’s important to isolate the animal immediately and contact a veterinarian. Prevention methods include not taking your horse to competitions and disinfecting all stable and riding equipment as well as places where horses are kept (stables, trailers).


One of the fundamental principles of prevention against the spread of the virus is maintaining proper hygiene in a stable or equestrian center. If you are looking for products that will help you take care of the place where your horse resides, have a look at our offer.

Equestrian store: +48 784 039 784


News from Equishop equestrian store:

Related posts