Although it may be suspected on clinical grounds, the presence of EHV can only be definitively diagnosed by a suitably equipped and experienced laboratory. Where disease is suspected, the attending veterinary surgeon should take the following samples and submit them to an appropriate laboratory:
• Suspected respiratory disease: blood samples and nasopharyngeal swabs;
• Following any abortion, stillbirth or newborn foal death: fetus and placenta or foal carcass should be sent for specific post mortem examination for EHV at a suitable pathology facility where spread of infection can be contained, thereby preventing the possibility of further contamination of the stud farm environment and/or personnel;
• Suspected neurological disease: blood samples and nasopharyngeal swabs. In the event of death, the whole carcass should be submitted for specific post mortem examination. If this is not possible, contact the laboratory to agree appropriate post mortem samples to be sent.
Veterinary surgeons should submit blood samples preserved with heparin or EDTA in addition to clotted (serum) samples.
For members of the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association in Great Britain, a contribution may be available towards laboratory costs for aborted fetuses or foals that die within 14 days of birth. Further details are available from the TBA.