Ga Dept of Agriculture


Equine Herpesvirus Myeloencephalopathy

UGA Large Animal Teaching Hospital Reopens

The Large Animal Hospital at the University of Georgia has reopened its emergency services and resumed seeing regular appointments on Feb. 22. UGA's Large Animal Hospital has been temporarily closed since Feb. 2 due to a quarantine for equine herpesvirus. On the evening of Jan. 31, a horse was admitted to the large animal intensive care unit at the UGA Veterinary Teaching Hospital and was humanely euthanized on Feb. 1 due to progressive neurological disease. Click for more details...

What is EHM?

Equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy (EHM) is another name for the neurologic disease associated with equine herpesvirus (EHV) infections. Neurological signs appear as a result of damage to blood vessels in the brain and spinal cord associated with EHV infection. Interference with the blood supply leads to tissue damage and a subsequent loss in normal function of areas in the brain and spinal cord.


Georgia Department of Agriculture
Gary W. Black, Commissioner
19 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. SW
Atlanta, GA 30334

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Press Release
Thursday, February 04, 2016
Office of Communications

First Case of Equine Herpesvirus Myeloencephalopathy Reported in Georgia

Georgia has had its first confirmed case of EHV-1, Equine Herpesvirus Myeloencephalopathy (EHM), a type of equine herpesvirus infection that is highly contagious to other horses and causes severe disease. EHV-1 can cause fever, abortion, respiratory disease and neurologic disease. The virus is species specific, so it does not affect humans, dogs, cats, etc.; however, alpacas and llamas can be affected.

The horse was admitted to the University of Georgia College Of Veterinary Medicine Hospital on January 31, 2016, showing neurological abnormalities. After progressively worsening clinical signs and a poor prognosis, the horse was euthanized. Tests confirm that the horse was positive for EHM.

The Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) State Veterinarian Robert Cobb is working closely with the University of Georgia Large Animal Veterinary Teaching Hospital to alert and provide recommendations for quarantine procedures and exposure protocols. GDA inspectors have been dispatched to all known contacts and have placed quarantines to ensure non movement. At this time, none of the horses have symptoms of EHM. Quarantined premises include the originating premises of the positive horse, a Georgia facility; premises of all equine that were present in the facility at the same time as the positive horse and the Large Animal Veterinary Teaching Hospital equine facilities. Protocols are being developed for monitoring and testing of all horses under quarantine.

Equine owners should practice appropriate biosecurity. The virus can be spread by horse to horse contact and contaminated equipment. Owners should contact their veterinarian if symptoms are present.

For updates and more information about EHV-1, please visit the Georgia Department of Agriculture website at or call GDA’s Animal Health department at 404-656-3667.