"Reproduction loss in valuable Thoroughbred horses is taken very seriously, as yearling Thoroughbreds can be worth thousands of dollars," said Alvin Smith, a professor of veterinary medicine at OSU and co-author of the paper with Andreas Kurth, a former doctoral student at OSU.
"Prior to this it has never been demonstrated that caliciviral infection in horses can occur in a natural setting," Smith said. "These data clearly suggest that pregnant mares are susceptible to infection, that they can replicate a high viral load, and that elevated antibody levels and increased incidences of abortion in mares are associated with this."
The genus vesivirus has been shown to cause a wide range of health problems in multiple animal species, and abortion is one of the leading concerns in swine, marine mammals, cats, and potentially other species, including cattle and humans. The host range for vesivirus is broad including but not limited to fish, seals, whales, reptiles, birds, primates, swine, cattle and humans. And severe disease conditions, the study said, have been positively correlated with the virus, including hepatitis, pneumonia, diarrhea, myocarditis and encephalitis.
In a recent publication in the Journal of Medical Virology, Smith and other researchers outlined how vesivirus or the antibodies to it were found in human blood samples, most often in those individuals with liver damage or hepatitis of unknown cause. In persons who previously had transfusions or dialysis, and then developed hepatitis of unknown cause, 47 percent had antibodies to vesivirus.
In the newest study with Thoroughbred horses, when a different criterion for a "
Contact: Dr. Alvin Smith
Oregon State University