Detection of EHV-1 and EHV-4 DNA in unweaned Thoroughbred foals from vaccinated mares on a large stud farm

C Foote, D. N. Love, J. R. Gilkerson, J. M. Whalley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

50 Citations (Scopus)


Reasons for performing study: A silent cycle of equine herpesvirus 1 infection has been described following epidemiological studies in unvaccinated mares and foals. In 1997, an inactivated whole virus EHV-1 and EHV-4 vaccine was released commercially in Australia and used on many stud farms. However, it was not known what effect vaccination might have on the cycle of infection of EHV-1. Objective: To investigate whether EHV-1 and EHV-4 could be detected in young foals from vaccinated mares. Methods: Nasal and blood samples were tested by PCR and ELISA after collection from 237 unvaccinated, unweaned foals and vaccinated and nonvaccinated mares during the breeding season of 2000. Results: EHV-1 and EHV-4 DNA was detected in nasal swab samples from foals as young as age 11 days. Conclusions: These results confirm that EHV-1 and EHV-4 circulate in vaccinated populations of mares and their unweaned, unvaccinated foals. Potential relevance: The evidence that the cycle of EHV-1 and EHV-4 infection is continuing and that very young foals are becoming infected should assist stud farms in their management of the threat posed by these viruses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-345
Number of pages5
JournalEquine Veterinary Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • EHV-1
  • EHV-4
  • ELISA antibody
  • Equine herpesvirus 1
  • Foal
  • Horse
  • PCR
  • Vaccination

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