Background: To date the influence of herpesviruses on the development of equine ocular diseases has not been clearly determined. Objective: The purpose of this study was to illustrate the course of equine ocular findings over a period of 18 months at 6 month intervals, in correlation with the results of herpesvirus detection. Methods: 266 Lipizzaners in 3 federal states of Austria underwent complete ophthalmologic examination 4 times. Blood samples, nasal- and conjunctival swabs were obtained at the same time and used for the detection of the equid gammaherpesviruses EHV-2 and EHV-5 using consensus herpesvirus PCR and type-specific qPCRs. Ophthalmic findings and results of herpesvirus PCRs were recorded and statistically analysed using one-way ANOVA, and multiple logistic regression analysis to determine the influence of herpesvirus infections and other contributing factors on the presence of ophthalmic findings. Results: In the first, second, third and fourth examination period 266, 261, 249 and 230 horses were included, respectively. Ophthalmic findings consistent with herpesvirus infections included conjunctival- and corneal pathologies. Statistical analysis revealed that the probability of positive herpesvirus PCR results decreased with progressing age; however the presence of corneal findings increased over time. At the time of each examination 45.1%, 41.8%, 43.0%, and 57.0% of horses with conjunctival or corneal findings, respectively, were positive for EHV-2 and/or EHV-5. However, 31.6%, 17.6%, 20.1%, and 13.0% of clinically sound horses were positive for these herpesviruses at each examination period, too. Conclusion: Based on the results of our study there is a significant influence of young age on EHV-2 and/or EHV-5 infection. Corneal pathologies increased over time and with progressing age. Whether the identified findings were caused by herpesviruses could not be unequivocally determined.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)