The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has confirmed neurologic equine herpesvirus on a property in Chester County, Pennsylvania. A 14-year-old Quarter horse mare had onset of clinical signs for equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy (EHM) on October 27. She was confirmed with neurologic herpesvirus on October 28 and had to be euthanized. There have been a reported thirty-three additional horses in that area that have been exposed and at risk. Some of those horses were fox hunting in Radnor this past weekend which may have put additional horses in Chester County at risk.  It is suggested by employees of New Bolton Center that all local equine facilities take extra precaution over the next several weeks or until further notice.After infection, the incubation period may be as short as 24 hours, but is typically 4-6 days, sometimes longer. Please notify SGF staff IMMEDIATELY if you notice an of the following clinical signs of the neurologic disease:

  • Nasal discharge
  • Fever
  • Incoordination
  • Hind limb weakness
  • Loss of tail tone
  • Lethargy
  • Urine dribbling
  • Head tilt
  • Leaning against a fence or wall to maintain balance
  • Inability to rise

This virus is contagious and spread by direct horse-to-horse contact via the respiratory tract through nasal secretions. Fortunately, this virus is very species-specific, meaning that humans do not catch equine herpes virus.  It is important to know that this virus can also be airborne around a horse that is shedding or being clipped and spread indirectly through contact with physical objects that are contaminated with the virus:

  • Human contaminated hands
  • Contaminated clothing
  • Contaminated equipment and tack
  • Contaminated trailers used for transporting horses
  • Contaminated wipe rags or other grooming equipment
  • Contaminated feed and water buckets

**Any guest who visits other barns, veterinary facilities, animal hospitals, is exposed to horses or is even in contact with other humans who have done any of the above in Chester and surrounding counties, is asked to remove all exposed articles of clothing, put it in a plastic bag for transport and wash them immediately in hot soapy water to avoid contaminating other surface areas.  We ask everyone to please do this prior to coming on site as well as washing their hands thoroughly before ANY interaction with any of our horses, equipment,  or other farm guests to avoid any potential risk to the horses on site.   The virus can live in perfect conditions for up to one month. Be sure to be conscious and wash all possibly contaminated items right away- including sanitizing your car if you do not remove coats, shoes, pants, etc. and store in a plastic bag.

All of our horses have been vaccinated against this disease and are currently safe as long as they stay on site and our guests follow extra precautionary steps to ensure their safety.

As word of this disease quickly makes its way to the equine facilities of Chester County,  lots of farms are going into lockdown and local shows are being cancelled.  We will NOT be participating in any shows or off site training for the remainder of November or until further notice for the safety of all our horses combined.

It is highly suggested to all of our boarded horse owners that their horses also remain on the property in quarantine for the remainder of November or until the warning has been lifted.  If a boarded horse leaves this property against our better judgement, it may not be welcome back without a confirmed negative blood tests to show their horse is not infected.If you have questions or concerns, please see any of the SGF staff members to discuss further.

Thank you!