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When we are in the middle of a corona pandemic and now suddenly there also comes the Rhinopneumonia-virus.

Rhinopneumonia in horses

Posted in : on 15-11-2021

We are currently in a worldwide Corona Pandemic and now the rhinovirus is also coming over it.. An outbreak of the dangerous rhinovirus was detected in Spain during the CES-Valencia-Tour, which has already killed four horses and infected several horses. In this blog you can read more about this dangerous virus, how you can protect your horse and prevent its spread.

What is Rhinopneumonia?

Rhinopneumonia is a dangerous viral disease in horses caused by two different herpes viruses (EHV1 and EHV4). Both can infect the horse’s respiratory tract and multiply there. Where EHV-4 remains in the nose and mucous membranes, EHV-1 can spread through the bloodstream and cause all kinds of problems further down the horse’s body. Rhinopneumonia therefore has three manifestations:

1) a cold is common in young horses and can cause fever, a runny nose, thick legs, and a cough.

2) abortion in mares could cause abortion. The foal is born very weak and with a high risk of death.

3) Neurological-form is very rare and could cause bad symptoms to the nervous system. It usually starts in limp tai land could lead to death.

This virus spreads just like COVID-19. It mostly takes place between horses and humans when they get in contact with other horses.

  • Direct contact with nasal fluid from an infected horse.
  • Direct contact between horses. For example, when drinking from the same drinking trough or when storing them together.
  • Over a short distance through the air in small enclosed spaces.
  • By man through clothing and hands from one horse to another.

How can you prevent that your horse gets the rhinovirus?

When preventing infection with the rhinovirus, it is important to look at: improving the horse’s resistance, reducing the chance of infection and possibly vaccination. The more virus a horse absorbs, the greater the chance of getting sick. If a horse has sufficient general resistance, it can keep more virus particles outside the body and better control the virus multiplication in the body.

Improving the overal resistance

When the health of your horse is optimal, then you have already put the basis for a healthy resistance. Also social contact, no stress, exercise and food can help to have a better resistance. We also have some supplements that could help to improve the resistance like:

  • L-Lysine, an amino acid with a virus-inhibiting effect.
  • Rosehip, a natural source of vitamin C for a positive effect on the immune system.
  • Echinacea purpurea (The red coneflower), activates the immune system.
  • Cat’s Claw, with antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties

Decrease the chance of infection

To make sure that your horse will not get Rhinopneumonia you can do the next things:

  • No direct contact with other horses.
  • Do not let your horse drink from a strange bucket, manger or share it with another horse.
  • Provide adequate ventilation.
  • Wash hands and clothes well
  • All materials can be properly disinfected with an anti-viral product such as Tea Tree oil.


It is possible to give your horse a shot against Rhinopneumonia. However, it is not ‘standard’. The vaccination offers protection against, but it doesn’t guarantee that the disease won’t show up. By vaccinating all horses, you will decrease the chance on Rhinopneumonia.

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