The Horse

JAN 2019

The Horse:Your Guide To Equine Health Care provides monthly equine health care information to horse owners, breeders, veterinarians, barn/farm managers, trainer/riding instructors, and others involved in the hands-on care of the horse.

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TheHorse.com | The Horse January 2019 27 Learn about this recently recognized, highly contagious virus and how its discovery impacts your horse O n a balmy Nebraska morning in June 2017, the owner of a small boarding facility found one of her horses showing signs of mild colic. While the gelding's herdmates grazed happily in the morning sun, this particular horse was alone, alternating between lying down and standing, kicking at his abdomen, nostrils flared, glaring at his flank. As she walked toward him he passed a small amount of very moist feces … definitely not normal for this horse. With every step the facility owner's heart rate and blood pressure rose, as did her sense of panic. She immediately called her veterinarian and isolated the colicky animal in his stall until the vet arrived. This scenario might feel all too real for anyone who has gone through it like this owner did. In this situation veterinarians tested the horse, diagnosing him with equine coronavirus (ECoV). They ultimately diagnosed six horses on the farm with this colitis (inflammation of the colon lining) causing infection, one of which succumbed to disease—a relatively rare occurrence with ECoV. Here we'll share essential information about ECoV, how it spreads between horses, why it's important to diagnose, ways to minimize chances of infec- tion, and how to diagnose and treat the disease. Getting to Know ECoV Coronaviruses are essentially micro- scopic strands of RNA (genetic material similar to DNA) wrapped in an envelope of proteins. So named because they look like they're wearing crowns when viewed under a microscope, coronaviruses can be subdivided into different groups and genera. The ECoV is a species- specific member of the coronavirus family, classi- fied within the Betacoronavirus 1 genus. Unlike bacteria, which are capable of ISTOCK.COM NEW ARRIVAL EQUINE CORONAVIRUS STACEY OKE, DVM, MSC

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