Just because I have seen two horses in my time die from seemingly innocent viral infections, one of them my own dear sweet Apollon, as recent as December 2012, I am keeping up as much as I can. After all, this particular virus, the one causing abortions, have been around a lot over the last years.
Last spring, the stable my sister worked at, lost a whole generation of foals, all of them aborted within the last month of the pregnancy. One foal survived, having been aborted close enough to the due date for it to actually live.
The year before that, a huge breeding stable lost 11 foals to that same virus.
I have mentioned it before, but when I was young I knew a five year old mare that got paralyzed by this virus. Back then, we were told that she was the first case in Denmark, that it happened in one in a million cases.
The year after that, 12 of the royal stallions died from it, all of them paralyzed. So much for “one in a million.”
When Apollon crashed and burned last year, once again, I didn’t really question how serious it was. I knew he was failing, and still, I found it utterly unacceptable that MY 13 year old horse should die from a disease that most horses carry and fight off, never showing symptoms at all.
I am still having a hard time accepting it, hence my obsessive reading on the subject, but articles like the one I am linking to, actually makes it a little easier for me to bear. It is not THAT uncommon. Apollon was not THAT special, THAT unfortunate. He sure was unlucky, no doubt about it, but this IS a serious virus, and even if the Danish vets treat it lightly, (not sure why, but they do,) somewhere out there, in the great big world, other vets take it seriously, and fight to contain the outbreak, just like I did, by closing down my pasture for the entire month Apollon was sick and a few weeks after he had been euthanized as well.
Everyone thought I was crazy. It was just a virus.
If anyone says that to me one more time, I am going to scream. “Just a virus,” Are the words of my worst nightmare.
So now I am looking at Tardis, hardly daring to hope that her foal will be born alive, greatly comforted by the fact that not a day goes by where I don’t see the little one kick around in there. I have never known such an active, unborn foal before.
The thing is though, as it is clearly stated in the article as well, that viral abortion can break out quite a few months after the mare was infected, and Tardis lived with Apollon while he was sick, because by then it was too late to isolate him.
Tardis have two months left of her pregnancy. If the foal is aborted now, it will not be able to breathe, as the respiratory system is the last thing to develop. We saw that with some of the foals that were aborted at the farm my sister worked at last year. Some of them were born alive, but they never got up and after a few hours, they just stopped breathing.
I could not handle that. Imagine a new born, perfect little life, warm and furry and precious, and dying. There is absolutely nothing you can do to save it if that should happen.
No, I am going to stick with my conviction, 2013 is going to be a good year. Tardis is going to go two months more and then she is going to deliver a healthy little foal, and we will all live happily ever after. I believe that after the last two years, we have a bit of luck coming our way. We must have.
I guess that in time, I will be able to stop monitoring EVH-1, and other related equine viral infection outbreaks, but for now, I am still astounded, and terrified, that it claimed the life of my beautiful Apollon and I am simply not ready to let it go just yet.