EHV-1 is a common cause of respiratory tract infections in horses around the world. What some horse owners aren’t always aware of is that it can also cause abortions and neurological problems, called Equid Herpesvirus-associated Myeloencephalopathy (EHM).
A German study suggests that some horse breeds may be more vulnerable to neurological problems arising from infection with equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1).
EHM is of great concern, as permanent neurological gait anomalies can leave a horse unfit for future use. The study assesses the risk factors associated with the occurrence of EHM. During an unmitigated outbreak, 141 adult horses/ponies of several distinct breeds were evaluated – using multiple Bayesian logistic regression calculating the odds ratios for breed, age and sex. In total, 33 of the 141 horses showed signs of EHM. Fjord horses and warmblood horses were over-represented among those developing EHM. The pony breeds, Welsh and Shetland ponies, were under-represented. In addition, age and sex were not associated with the risk for EHM. The main limitation was that it was a retrospective analysis with some flaws of documentation. It can be concluded that breed was a significant risk factor for developing EHM during this outbreak.
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