Due to the increased number of herpes infections following the recent outbreak in Valencia the German Equestrian Federation FN advises against bringing together horses from different stables in order to prevent further spreading of the herpes virus. For this reason, all breed and horse shows have been cancelled until the end of March and horses should not be transported either, where possible.
However, after prior notification and following a clinical examination upon arrival, mares fully vaccinated against influenza and herpes can still be stabled at a Verband station (please have the equine passport ready for checking). While mares with inadequate immunisation protection can be taken to the stations to have their follicles checked and for insemination, they must leave the station immediately afterwards to prevent any contact with other mares. Individual hygiene and disinfection concepts have been established by the stations.
Of course, on-farm insemination with Holsteiner Verband stallion semen continues to be an option. Here the vets must take care to apply hygiene practices to prevent spreading of the disease through human carriers.
A good network of insemination veterinarians in Schleswig-Holstein guarantees the reliable supply for the breeders. Shipping of semen to a stallion station where it can be collected by either insemination vet or breeder is still free of charge. Another option is the direct delivery to the breeder’s address at the regular shipping charges.
All horses at the Elmshorn stallion stable are vaccinated and housed in a closed group, separate from other stables. There has been no contact to horses returning from Spain or from other areas with known herpes occurrence. The staff taking care of and training the horses did not have contact to potential sources of infection, a policy which is kept up in order to effectively prevent bringing in the disease. Moreover, as yet there is no evidence at all the herpes virus can actually be transmitted through semen.
These measures have been talked over and agreed with the station managers as well as Dr. Achilles as the station vets’ representative and are put into practice until 31 March.
By taking these measures and precautions we hope to get the infection under control quickly, allowing us to return safely to normal operations in breeding and sport soon.