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Rapid PCR results keep competition horses active

Polo pony in stable

A horse with a fever, lethargy, and anorexia caused a severe panic in a large show barn. An elite show horse, he returned to his home barn after being on the road competing for a week. Within two days, he became severely ill. The entire barn was worried about EHV-1 and other respiratory agents that could cause the barn to be quarantined, which could stop training and prevent horses from qualifying for future events. Diagnostics needed to be run immediately to determine proper disease management.

The referring veterinarian called the AHDC and spoke to one of the Veterinary Support Services (VSS) veterinarians about this case. She needed PCR testing for EHV-1 and strangles but was worried she might be missing something. She also needed the results fast. Horses were waiting to leave for shows and she had put the barn under a “no movement” restriction until results were obtained.

The veterinarian was told about the new adult equine PCR respiratory panel at the AHDC, which tests for EHV-1 and EHV-4, adenovirus 1 and 2, EVA, influenza, Rhinitis A and B, and Strep equi and she decided to order the test immediately.

Inquiries about expedited (STAT) testing were made because the entire barn was at a standstill in the middle of show season. Having ordered results STAT, the referring veterinarian received her negative respiratory PCR tests results five hours after the arrival of samples at the laboratory.

A PCR for Anaplasma phagocytophilium had also been done because of the high fever and history. It was positive.

The barn was released immediately from the “stop movement” restriction. This horse was treated and returned to completion as soon as it recovered. The quick turnaround and the diagnosis of Anaplasma phagocytophiium prevented undue financial losses for the entire barn.

The AHDC works closely with their clients and are willing to help anyway they can. If you have any questions about the new equine PCR panel, please contact the laboratory at 607.253.3900.