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MAY 2011 THE RIDER /27

WHAT’S UP DOC From the desks of Dr’s Armstrong & Frost.


Can you please tell me about the Equine Herpes Virus? I am hearing allot about it and I would just like to know more about it and is there a vaccine to prevent it.

Respectfully Dave

--------------------- Dear Dave; Equine Herpes

Most likely, if you have horses, you have heard about the various Equine Herpes epidemics throughout the industry over the past few years. Equine Herpes infection presents itself in three completely different syndromes.

The first, and most common, is the upper respiratory tract syndrome. This usually occurs in young horses and appears much like the common cold in people. They have a runny nose and possibly a cough but for the most part little else. The problem though is that these young horses become a reservoir of the virus for the more serious syndromes that then occur in older horses.

Equine Herpes can cause late term abortion in pregnant mares. The virus when it infects these mares causes the later term fetus to die and then the abortion. It is not uncom- mon for some naive herds to loose 30 to 50 percent of their foal crop because of this virus. For this reason it I recommended that on large farms the yearlings be kept well separated from the pregnant mares. Fortunate- ly, the virus does not affect the mare and she will go on to get in foal the next year but this year’s foal is lost. That could have been the one that was destined to be a champion! The third Equine Herpes syn- drome is the Central Nervous System syndrome. This often happens in pockets and over the years we have seen or heard of several of these episodes. The symptoms can vary all the way from a transient hind end weakness to complete and total mus- cle paralysis. The milder forms usu- ally go away in 24 to 48 hours but the cases we have seen with com- plete paralysis usually end up being euthanized. The virus gets into the spinal canal and causes swelling of the spinal chord to result in the paral- ysis.

The only way to prevent Equine Herpes is through vaccination. We

recommend starting at about three to six months of age to protect the young horses and then continuing regular vaccinations throughout the horse’s life. If you have a pregnant mare then she must get a different Herpes vaccination at the third, fifth and seventh month of gestation for the abortion syndrome. This is well worth the cost and the effort as loos- ing one foal is far greater a loss that the cost of vaccination.

A number of geographic juris- dictions now require that horses entering the area have a certificate of up to date vaccination for Herpes as protection against the Central Ner- vous form of the disease. This involves the same vaccine as used for the Upper Respiratory syndrome. Vaccination for Equine Herpes is a sound and wise investment when you consider the losses suffered in either of the Abortion or Central Ner- vous syndromes.


Do you have a question to Ask The Doc? Call (905) 659-4387 or email to:, visit or email The Rider at

Ontario Reined Cow Horse Association

Werner Bohner, President, 519-467-5691 Craig Black, Vice President, 519-874-1294 Stefan Winkelhage, Treasurer/Web, 519-463-9956

Or visit us at our website: ORCHA Sponsors

To promote the reined cow horse in Ontario through education, participation, and mentorship

843 Concession Rd. 1, Canfield ON N0A 1C0

2011 Team Ranch Sorting Points & Jack Pot Series Compete for Year end Trophies

Practice Ranch Sorting and Roping Indoor Arena • Runs year round

Visit our website or call Kevin or Steffany (905) 774-1373 •

On March 12, ORCHA hosted a Judges seminar with Joe Carter at Fletcher`s Horse World. Thirty- nine people were in attendance for this very informa- tive insight on how our event is judged and scored. Topics from equipment to penalties and everything in between were discussed. Thanks again to Joe Carter and to Fletcher`s Horse World for their generosity. Ten horses and riders braved the cold for our March practice at Larry Smith`s in Ottervile. Young horses and new riders have been working hard and it is showing at our practices. Thanks again to Larry for the use of his arena and heated lounge! Our next practice will be at our home grounds in Richmond on MAY 1ST

On May 28th, we are having a clinic with Gene

Munger from Freeland, Michigan at a cost of $100 per rider. If you want to sign up, please contact Werner Bohner (519) 467-5691.

There have also been a couple of practices at Fletcher`s Horse World with a lot of interest. Anyone interested should contact John Fletcher for more details. We are getting bigger!

Show Dates: May 29, June 26, July 24, August 21, September 18

Sponsor Spotlight: TSC, from agriculture to equine products - `the stuff you need out here`


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