. We are now entering the most significant time of the year for cases although they can occur at any time. The most common excuse for not vaccinating is cost being in the region of $85-100 per injection. How much did you pay for your horse and what price do you put on your daughter or wife? HENDRA VIRUS IS A FATAL ZOONOSIS WHICH SPREADS FROM HORSES TO PEOPLE. ONCE YOU HAVE IT THERE IS NO TURNING THE CLOCK BACK. IT CAN BE PREVENTED BY VACCINATING YOUR HORSE.



This is the time of the year we often experience abortions in mares. One of the most serious causes is viral abortion which is highly contagious.


 An abortion in a broodmare may be due to a highly contagious viral disease known as viral abortion.

Cause; A virus known as Equine Herpes Virus   (EHV-1)

Animals at risk; Pregnant mares.

Virus abortion virus can cause:-

1)         Mares to abort their foals.

2)         Mares to produce stillborn foals- normal length pregnancy but foals fail to breath.

3)         Foals die within the first few days of life, often after a septicaemic-like episode.

 If your mare aborts, produces a stillborn foal, or has a foal which dies within the first few days of life it is essential to eliminate virus abortion as a cause.

 Immediate action required.

 In the case of an abortion or a stillborn foal:-

 1)         Remove the affected mare.

2)         Isolate in-contact mares, then call your vet to organize or carry out a post mortem and take samples for testing.


 3)         Burn or bury the remains of the foal and membranes and isolate the suspected mare.

 The virus in the dead foal, foetal membranes and uterine fluids from the mare is highly infectious to other mares.

 4)         Disinfect the general area where the abortion took place with a viricidal disinfectant. All personnel in contact with the suspect mare should thoroughly disinfect their hands, boots etc. and change their clothes before coming in contact with any other horses-especially pregnant mares.

 Similar isolation and disinfecting procedures should be practiced when a foal develops a septicaemic, or respiratory condition within the first 2-3 days of life.

The mare must be isolated until a definite diagnosis has been made by the laboratory. (The EMAI government laboratory will do this).

 Early recognition of viral abortion, careful removal and disinfection procedures and total isolation of suspect mares is essential to minimize spread of this disease within a stud and between studs.

General Precautions

 1)         Isolate all the in-contact mares. Maintain pregnant mares in small mobs to minimize the risks of the disease spreading.

2)         Mares in known infected groups should preferably left there, not removed to another susceptible group.

3)         Separation of home mares from visiting mares until 3 days after foaling will help considerably in preventing virus abortion spreading.

4)         Stress such as traveling or severe weather changes may precipitate abortion in infected mares.


 Ignoring the presence of the disease will only assist in its spread.

 No horse owner could stand to gain by the attempted suppression of information and indeed this could increase the risk to the stud mares and others.

 To avoid rumour, speculation and unnecessary concern ahave all abortions adequately checked by autopsy and laboratory investigation. In most cases it will not be virus abortion, however it is not worth the risk.