Can Proper Nutrition Reduce EHV-1 Risk? One Study Says Yes

by | 04.09.2019 | 3:43pm

Good nutrition and correct management seem to have the ability to largely downplay the effects of equine herpes virus 1 (EHV-1) in horses, a new study out of Belgium shows. EHV-1 traditionally affects horses that are less than one year old; the virus resides in the upper respiratory tract, replicates and enters the bloodstream.

EHV-1 can cause things as minor as a respiratory issues or as major as abortion in mares; it can also cause neurologic issues so intense that euthanasia may be the best option for the affected horse.

Drs. Katrien Poelaert, Van Cleemput, Sarah Descamps, Herman Favoreel and Hans Nauwynck from Belgium's Ghent University and Princeton University's Dr. Kathlyn Laval tested the theory that short-chain fatty acids impeded the progression of EHV-1.

Short-chain fatty acids from dietary fibers have anti-inflammatory properties. The scientists felt that they may impede EHV-1 infection of the respiratory tract and that the they may prevent the transfer of the infected cells to the cells that line blood vessels.

The team studied three short-chain fatty acids. All three had little effect on virus replication, but the blood vessel cells that were treated with the short-chain fatty acids had a reduced number of infected cells that adhere to them, thus reducing the ability for the virus to cause inflammation. The scientists believe that EHV-1 effects can be reduced by correct nutrition and management to ensure that horses receive an adequate amount of short-chain fatty acids.

Read more at HorseTalk.

The study can be read here.

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