Hi stranger! Signing up for MypetMD is easy, free and puts the most relevant content at your fingertips.

Get Instant Access To

  • 24/7 alerts for pet-related recalls

  • Your own library of articles, blogs, and favorite pet names

  • Tools designed to keep your pets happy and healthy

or Connect with Facebook

By joining petMD, you agree to the Privacy Policy.

Equine Herpes Virus



Since the infective agent is a virus, there is no cure. Only supportive care will help with the recovery of the horse. Herpes viruses have the ability to remain dormant in the horse's body and re-emerge at any time (especially when the horse is stressed). In this way, the disease can easily be spread. When an outbreak occurs, strict and prompt issuance of quarantine procedures will help contain the disease.


However there are medications, such as antibiotics, that can help with the secondary infections that can occur while the horse’s immune system is trying to fight off the viral infection. Anti-inflammatory drugs may be administered to help keep the horse comfortable and encourage the horse to remain eating and drinking.


Living and Management


It is imperative that a horse infected with the equine herpes virus be isolated from other horses to prevent the spread of the disease.




There are vaccines that can give horses immunity against the herpes virus. These vaccines must be administered on a regular basis, usually every year, or sometimes every six months if the horse is at high risk for contracting the disease. There is even a vaccine that can guard against abortions in pregnant mares, a common symptom in certain subtypes of the virus. Consult your veterinarian to learn more about these vaccines and to see if it is of use for your horse.



Comments  1

Leave Comment
  • Prevention advice
    04/12/2012 08:47pm

    Since the virus is transmitted by touch or by sharing feed, brushes, bits and other equipment is a reason to take a strong look at how we are care for our animals. Nelson Manufacturing, a leading manufacturer of horse feeder and waterer equipment (www.nelsonmfg.com), offers automatic horse waterers designed with your horse’s health in mind. A patented balance beam valve provides fresh, clean water with every drink and they are the “only” waterers on the market which have a removable stainless steel drinking bowl that can be cleaned and sterilized. The fresh, clean water will help minimize the risk of your horse acquiring and/or spreading this virus.