Equine Herpes Virus

3 min read



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.