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Asinine herpesvirus-3 (equine herpesvirus-8)-associated neurological disease in a donkey
  1. Kees van Maanen1,
  2. Ellen van der Zaag2,
  3. Rianne Buter3,
  4. Linda van den Wollenberg1 and
  5. Marianne Sloet van Oldruitenborgh-Oosterbaan4
  1. 1Department of Small Ruminants, Horses and Companion Animals, Gezondheidsdienst voor Dieren BV, Deventer, The Netherlands
  2. 2Dierenkliniek de Delta, Maasland, The Netherlands
  3. 3R&D Department, Gezondheidsdienst voor Dieren BV, Deventer, The Netherlands
  4. 4Department of Equine Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Dr Kees van Maanen; c.v.maanen{at}


A 30-year-old female donkey with pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID) was referred to the Department of Equine Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Utrecht, for losing weight despite good appetite and treatment for PPID. Twelve days after returning home, the mare developed nasal discharge, and the next day it was found recumbent and was only able to stand up with manual assistance. The next day the mare showed severe tetraparesis, ataxia, and hypotonia of anus, tail and bladder, and it became completely recumbent. Equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy was suspected, and to confirm the diagnosis a deep nasal swab was taken. Because of the poor prognosis the mare was euthanased. The swab scored very strong positive for equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1) and virus isolation was performed to enable further characterisation of the virus. The identity of the virus was again confirmed as EHV-1 with type-specific monoclonal antibodies, but sequencing identified the virus as asinine herpesvirus-3 (EHV-8).

  • diagnostics
  • PCR
  • ASHV-3
  • EHV-8
  • neurological disease
  • donkey
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  • Contributors EvdZ was primarily responsible for the treatment of the patient. MSvO-O was responsible for the patient during its stay in the university clinic. RB did most of the laboratory work. KvM was involved in the laboratory work and wrote the manuscript. LvdW was responsible for diagnostic advice, sample submission and storage. All authors were actively involved in the writing of the manuscript.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement The authors will on request make sequence data and details of diagnostic protocols available to the research community.

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