AHL LabNote 20-Equid herpesvirus 1 disease surveillance

Updated May 2018


Blood. Collect 2 mL of EDTA blood for identification of cell-associated viremia.

Nasal swabs. Insert the swab as far as possible into the horse’s nasopharynx and vigorously swab so the mucosal cells are collected and not just nasal debris. Nasal swabs will be used to detect virus shedding, which is important for contact horses.

For nasal swabs, use virus collection and transport systems such as “Multitrans Collection and Transportation System” from Starplex (VWR Cat # CA73270-008) or “Universal Viral Transport Collection Kit” from Becton-Dickinson (Fisher Cat# B220531). For your convenience, AHL has virus collection and transport systems available - please contact AHL at 519-824-4120, ext. 54530 or ahl.supplies@uoguelph.ca and we will send them to you (charges for swabs  invoiced at cost)

Note: a bacterial swab in charcoal or any other preservative is not acceptable.

Tissues. Any tissue that is involved in the pathogenesis of disease can be tested. This includes brain or spinal cord from neurological cases, lung from foals with neonatal pneumonia, and fetal tissues from abortions. Tissues from the same animal will be pooled for the PCR test. Suitable fetal tissues include thymus, lung, liver, spleen, adrenal and placenta.


Sample submission instructions and the submission form are available online at www.ahl.uoguelph.ca  Please look under the “Submissions” drop down menu. On the submission form, under “VIROLOGY” please select “Eq. herpesvirus -1 PCR”. We do supply a prepaid Purolator return waybill for Ontario residents only. For general submission information / return waybills please contact AHL at 519-824-4120, ext. 54530 or ahlinfo@uoguelph.ca.


Real-time PCR for EHV-1 identifies and differentiates neuropathogenic and non-neuropathogenic strains of EHV-1. Horses with neuropathogenic strains have a greater risk of developing neurologic disease.

For more specific test-related information, please contact Dr. Davor Ojkic, phone 519-824-4120, ext. 54524 or dojkic@uoguelph.ca.

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