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Equine herpesvirus 3

Equine herpesvirus 3
Virus classification
Group: Group I (dsDNA)
Family: Herpesviridae
Genus: Varicellovirus
Species: Equine herpesvirus 3 (EHV-3)

Equine herpesvirus 3 (EHV-3) is a virus of the family Herpesviridae that affects horses. It causes a disease known as equine coital exanthema. The disease is spread through direct and sexual contact and possibly through flies carrying infected vaginal discharge.[1] EHV-3 has an incubation period of as little as two days.[2] Signs of the disease include pustules and ulcerations of the vagina, penis, prepuce, and perineum. Lesions may also be seen on the lips and teats. Usually the only symptom seen is a decreased libido in stallions. The lesions heal within two weeks.[2] As with other herpes viruses, the virus remains latent in the host for life. Carrier animals can sometimes be identified by spots of pigment loss on black skin in the genital region. EHV-3 is best prevented by taking note of present clinical signs and keeping infected horses isolated and breeding stock from sexual contact with other horses. Antibiotic ointments should be used on the lesions to prevent secondary bacterial infections and hasten the healing process. It is also important to use disposable gloves and instruments in veterinary exams as the virus can be spread by using contaminated equipment.


  1. Carter, G.R.; Flores, E.F.; Wise, D.J. (2006). "Herpesviridae". A Concise Review of Veterinary Virology. http://www.ivis.org/advances/Carter/Part2Chap11/chapter.asp?LA=1. Retrieved 2006-06-08. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Fenner, Frank J.; Gibbs, E. Paul J.; Murphy, Frederick A.; Rott, Rudolph; Studdert, Michael J.; White, David O. (1993). Veterinary Virology (2nd ed.). Academic Press, Inc. ISBN 0-12-253056-X. 


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