Veterinarians urged to consider ABLV in horses with neurological signs

Baby bat suckes from bottle3The detection of Australian bat lyssavirus (ABLV) in two horses on a Queensland property is a concern for veterinarians and horse owners alike, according to the Australian Veterinary Association.

Biosecurity Queensland quarantined a property in the Southern Downs last month after a horse tested positive for ABLV – the first known case of ABLV in this species.

According to a statement by NSW Chief Veterinary Officer Ian Roth, the yearling was initially off-colour with subtle signs of dullness and ataxia. Its condition deteriorated over a period of days, demonstrating marked ataxia, head-pressing, dysphagia, hypermetria and a rectal temperature of 39°C. Within four days the horse struggled to stand. The animal drank but did not eat, and had a heart rate of 60 beats per minute. Hendra virus testing returned negative.

Five days after initial presentation the horse developed seizures and was euthanased by the veterinarian, who performed a necropsy. Histopathology of the brain revealed severe diffuse non-purulent encephalitis and myelitis. Because this finding can be seen with ABLV, testing was undertaken. Other differentials included Hendra virus, tetanus and flavivirus (thought to be possible due to a local surge of mosquitos in the preceding month). The animal tested positive for ABLV. Continue reading Veterinarians urged to consider ABLV in horses with neurological signs