REASONS FOR PERFORMING STUDY: The role of equid γ-herpesviruses on ocular surface diseases has been disputed, because the diagnosis is usually based on clinical symptoms and detection of viral DNA from samples obtained from live animals.
OBJECTIVES: To describe the clinical course, results of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis, in situ hybridisation, cell culture and pathohistological findings of select cases in a presumed outbreak of herpesvirus infection in a group of 15 Icelandic horses.
STUDY DESIGN: Case series.
METHODS: Pooled ocular and nasal swabs and peripheral blood mononuclear cells of horses diagnosed clinically with herpesvirus-associated keratoconjunctivitis were analysed for presence of equine herpesviruses (EHV)-2 and EHV-5 nucleic acid using real-time PCR. Necropsy specimens from one horse, subjected to euthanasia due to deterioration of clinical symptoms were examined histopathologically, and analysed for presence of EHV-2 and EHV-5 nucleic acid using real-time PCR. In situ hybridisation and cell culture of select samples were performed.
RESULTS: All horses with symptoms of severe keratoconjunctivitis were positive for presence of either EHV-2 and/or EHV-5 nucleic acid using real-time PCR. Assessment of necropsy specimens of the most severely affected case, revealed presence of EHV-2 and/or EHV-5 nucleic acid in several ocular and extraocular anatomical locations. The remaining horses responded favourably to symptomatic treatment.
CONCLUSIONS: This case series illustrates a severe outbreak of keratoconjunctivitis in a group of Icelandic horses, with suspected γ-herpesvirus involvement. For the first time equid γ-herpesviruses were detected in intraocular anatomical locations.
- Icelandic horse
ASJC Scopus subject areas