The OSU Center for Veterinary Health Sciences reports that Dr. Lara Maxwell, Assistant Professor of Physiological Sciences, has received a grant from Grayson Jockey Club to study the efficacy of an antiviral drug to fight Equine Herpes Virus Type I (EHV-1).
“This virus can affect horses of any age, but causes different signs of disease in foals, pregnant mares, and in other adult horses,” explains Dr. Maxwell. “Recent outbreaks of EHV-1 at farms and racetracks around the U.S. have caused severe neurological disease in adult, vaccinated horses. Therefore, current vaccines don’t seem to fully protect these horses from the devastating affects of EHV-1.”
Dr. Maxwell will be collaborating with various researchers from the Veterinary Center including Drs. Jerry Ritchey, pathologist, Richard Eberle, virologist, and Charles MacAllister, head of Veterinary Clinical Sciences. The CVHS will also team up with colleagues Drs. Brad Bentz, Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, and George Allen, University of Kentucky.
The study will revolve around the testing of an antiviral drug called valacyclovir. Laboratory and live animal data suggest that this drug will be effective if given in the same doses that Maxwell’s team will be administering.
“We will test the drug to see whether it protects horses from EHV-1,” says Dr. Maxwell. “This is a two year study, but we hope to have preliminary results by the 2008 meeting of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. If the drug is effective, this project will have far reaching consequences for horse owners and the horse industry.”
The Oklahoma State Center for Veterinary Health Sciences is one of 28 veterinary colleges in the United States and is fully accredited by the Council on Education of the American Veterinary Medical Association. For more information on the Veterinary Center, visit http://www.cvhs.okstate.edu.