Hagyard Equine Medical Institute announced Thursday that they are now offering PCR testing for Rotavirus B. The Rotavirus PCR test is available as a single test or as part of Hagyard’s Neonatal Panel or Foal Diarrhea Panel.
Rotaviruses are serious, life-threatening diseases that are highly contagious in foals. Rotavirus B was a new strain discovered in central Kentucky during the 2021 foal season. It was quickly identified as a new strain of rotavirus, responsible for a spate of neonatal foals with severe diarrhea between one and four days old. Some farms even felt the effects of a 100% morbidity rate.
“This new strain caused great concern in our industry in the 2021 foal season. It is a great relief for our customers to be able to offer testing in the 2022 foal season,” said Nathan Slovis, DVM, DACVIM, CHT, Hagyard Equine Medical Institute. His credentials also include director of the McGee Medicine Center and he is considered a global leader in equine infectious disease response.
As with all rotaviruses, biosecurity measures should be taken to reduce the risk of infection to other horses:
(1) Make sure that other horses do not come into contact with the infected foal,
(2) Use separate or disinfected tools to clean their stable or paddock, and
(3) Wear disposable gloves when handling the foal. Wash your hands when you’re done.
Bleach is not effective against rotavirus, so disinfectants such as Tek-Trol, Biophene, Environ, Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide (Rescue), and Stroke-1 are examples of disinfectants that can be used.
Research is underway to better understand the virus and to develop a vaccine for young, susceptible horses. Current vaccines against Rotavirus A do not protect against the new B strain. To this end, Hagyard’s testing and laboratory can distinguish Rotavirus B from Rotavirus A strains.
“It’s what has set us apart for the past 145 years by tackling the challenges of our industry,” continued Slovis. “Hagyard has always championed innovation to improve the care and welfare of these amazing animals.”
“We felt it was important that veterinarians both inside and outside the Hagyard practice have access to a lab like ours,” added Luke Fallon, DVM, medical director of Hagyard Equine Medical Institute. “It’s a critical part of any comprehensive wellness plan.”
Hagyard’s Laboratory offers its services to all veterinarians. Testing is available in Blood Bank, Chemistry, Coggins, Cytology, Endocrinology, Hematology, Microbiology, PCR and Serology. It has also won awards for its laboratory information system and is accredited by the Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute.
Additional information about Hagyard’s Laboratory can be found at https://www.hagyard.com/services-and-facilities/hagyard-laboratory
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