PULLMAN, Wash. – The Washington State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital is again open to clients seeking service for horses, llamas and alpacas following the recent outbreak of equine herpes virus (EHV-1).

Reopening is slightly ahead of schedule because there have been no new cases of EHV-1 in Washington for more than two weeks. Colorado State University’s veterinary college reopened its hospital two weeks ago.

Clients wishing to bring horses to WSU’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital will best be served by calling ahead first so the screening and admission process can be streamlined. The number to call is 509-335-7073.

Two weeks of sanitizing

The WSU veterinary hospital underwent a thorough cleaning and sanitation process that included washing everything with disinfectants from the floors to ceilings. Stall mats were removed as were any porous surfaces on doors or dividers. Often, what could not be cleaned and sealed was replaced.

The cleaning process has been under way for more than two weeks in stages. It required a crew of 15 people; 10 were temporary hires for this process. Cost of the disinfection has not been determined and fees for service will remain the same.

Admission screening enhanced

As an added precaution, WSU’s equine section has put in place an enhanced infection control protocol. The process will begin with WSU veterinarians screening each referral or private admission patient and then ranking horses according to any risk they may pose for developing active disease from an EHV-1 infection. 

Horses will receive a physical examination before they are admitted. Clients presenting animals for care will have to fill out a survey detailing their horse’s recent health and travel. They will be informed of the status of horses already admitted to the hospital.

The new protocol is to remain in place until further notice.

If the medical decision is made to admit a horse deemed at high risk for EHV-1, that animal will go immediately to an isolation facility before entering the teaching hospital.