Equine herpesvirus-1 is associated with several disease syndromes including abortion, neonatal septicemia, upper respiratory tract disease and a neuropathogenic form known as equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy (EHM). EHM is not a new disease and is reported sporadically throughout the world. There is recent concern, however, over emergence of a mutant strain of the virus (nEHV-1) that is more virulent in its ability to cause the neuropathogenic form of EHV-1 disease1. This increased virulence has been expressed in outbreaks of EHM in several countries with a higher than previously reported incidence of morbidity and mortality. A concise description of equine herpesvirus-1 disease, including the neuropathogenic form, recently appeared in Alberta Agriculture's Animal Health Forum, Vol. 13, Issue 1, February, 20082.

Because of the concern over the potential to see this disease in Alberta horses, both on farms and at events where horses congregate, the information in the listing below is provided to assist practitioners with accessing rapid and effective diagnostic laboratory help in the event they suspect this disease. This listing also appears on the AVMA website on the home page after member log in3. The listing is self-explanatory but if questions or concerns arise, please do not hesitate to call the contact people.

EHV-1 Diagnostics: May 2009

Alberta information added December 2011

Alberta

PCR

Idexx Code EQHVD (Equine Herpes Type 1-Type 4 real-time PCR).
Sample: nasal swab (sterile, plastic stemmed swab placed in a sterile red top tube- NO culture media) OR whole EDTA blood (7 mL purple top tube). Can also submit tissue samples from abortions/mortalities (cerebrospinal fluid, brain/spinal cord, lung, liver, thymus, spleen, adrenal gland, placenta). Can distinguish between EHV-1 and 4, as well as nEHV-1.
Cost: $85.95 per sample (TAT 1-3 days).

Serology

Idexx code EHV1/4.
Paired sera. Test can differentiate EHV-1 and EHV-4, but not nEHV-1. Titers may not be high, even in acute cases.
Cost: $27.95 per test (TAT 7-14 days).

Contact

Idexx customer service centre at 780-437-8808 to redirect to equine expert.

Shipping Address

Idexx Laboratories.
Edmonton: 8131 Roper Rd, Edmonton, AB T6E 6S4
Calgary: Unit 19, 5080 - 12A ST SE, Calgary, AB, T2G 5K9

Submission Form

Vet Connect (on-line) submission or call lab for submission forms.

Hours

Variable by lab.

Ontario

PCR

Nasal swab*, buffy coat (20 ml EDTA blood), tissue (Neuro cases: brain/spinal cord; Respiratory cases: lung; Abortions: lung, liver, thymus, spleen, adrenal glands, placenta). Differentiates EHV-1 from nEHV-1; Cost $65.00/test (sample); gives a +/- answer and differentiates the strain in the same test; TAT 1-3 days after received

Serology

On paired sera, test does not differentiate EHV-1 from EHV-4, TAT 7 - 14 days

Contact

Dr. Susy Carman
519-824-4120 ext 54551
scarman@lsd.uoguelph.ca

Shipping Address

Animal Health Laboratory
Laboratory Services Division
University of Guelph
Door P2 Bldg 49, McIntosh Lane
Guelph, ON   N1G 2W1

Submission Form

https://www.uoguelph.ca/ahl/submissions/submission-forms
Indicate in the history that you would like EHV-1 real-time PCR.

Hours

8:15 - 7:00
M-F

British Columbia

PCR

Nasal swab*, buffy coat, fresh lung, fresh brain/spinal cord. Cost $37.50 out of province. Will differentiate EHV-1 from nEHV-1 and can sequence virus if needed.

Serology

For EHV-1 only

Contact

Dr. John Robinson
604-556-3003 (main office)
John.H.Robinson@gov.bc.ca

Shipping Address

BC Ministry of Agriculture and Food
Animal Health Centre
1767 Angus Campbell Rd
Abbotsford, BC   V3G 2M3

Submission Form

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/animals-and-crops/animal-health
then click "Mammalian Submission Form (PDF)"

Hours

8:30 - 12:00 &
1:00 - 4:30
M-F

Saskatchewan

PCR

Live horse: nasal swab. Recently dead horse: nasal swab or small piece of nasal mucosa. Test will differentiate EHV-1 from 4; PCR capability to distinguish nEHV-1 currently done as an experimental diagnostic test. Also offer an equine respiratory PCR panel (EHV-1, EHV-4, EIV, Strep equi) for $85.00; use culturette swabs as for bacteriology, 2 per horse.

Serology

Does not differentiate EHV-1 from EHV-4

Contact

Dr. Dale Godson
306-966-7316 (main office)
dale.godson@pds.usask.ca

Shipping Address

Prairie Diagnostic Services
52 Campus Dr
Saskatoon, SK   S7N 5B4

Submission Form

www.usask.ca/pds/
then click "Forms"

Hours

8:00 - 5:00
M-F

Manitoba

PCR

Nasal or conjunctival swab*, lung, spinal cord, spinal fluid. Test will differentiate EHV-1 from 4; sequencing needed to know if EHV-1 is nEHV-1. Cost $32.00; TAT 1-2 days.

Serology

Does not differentiate EHV-1 from EHV-4

Contact

Dr. Tomy Joseph
204-945-7643
tomy.joseph@gov.mb.ca

Shipping Address

Veterinary Diagnostic Services
545 University Cr
Winnipeg, MB   R3T 5S6

Submission Form

https://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/animal-health-and-welfare/animal-health/pubs/equine-form.pdf

Hours

8:30 - 5:00
M-F

EHV‌-1 Diagnostics Notes

  • In a live horse, test and sample of choice is PCR on a nasal swab or buffy coat sample (20 ml EDTA blood).
  • *For nasal swabs, Starplex Multitrans® Collection and Transport System swabs work well. Can also use a plastic handled untreated absorbent cotton swab broken off and put in a tube with 1/2 ml phosphate buffered saline or saline. Swab nasal mucosa very vigorously to get cells, not just nasal mucous and debris. Do not use bacteriological swabs with charcoal or gel-type preservatives. Do not use wooden handled swabs.
  • Swabs (Starplex Multitrans) available from WDDC Cat. No. 115798 in a 5 pack for $12.90.
  • Ship all samples chilled on ice packs for overnight arrival. In general, do not ship for arrival on holidays or weekends.
  • Questions, please contact Dr. Simon Otto 780-427-8228 or Dr. Jagdish Patel 780-644-5093

1https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalhealth/animal-disease-information/horse-disease-information/ehv/equine-herpesvirus

2 Patel J. Disease Impact: Equine Herpesvirus Myeloencephalopathy. Animal Health Forum, Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, Food Safety Division, Vol. 13(1): 5 - 6; February 2008.

3https://www.abvma.ca/