In a recent correspondence from Platinum Performance that I received via email, a white paper was highlighted discussing the possible significance of dietary zinc and lysine in managing EHV-1 in horses. A recent paper was cited in which it was shown that horses naturally infected with EHV-1 had lower blood concentrations of zinc and copper compared to control horses. Several other cited papers supported the use of lysine to decrease the severity and recurrence rate of herpes virus outbreaks in both humans and cats. Researchers during a recent multi-state outbreak of EHV-1, researchers found “that horses supplements with dietary zinc were less likely to develop EHM compared to non- supplements horses (Traub-Dargatz). This decreased risk of EHM was identified in both the control group of horses, and in horses that had EHV-1 without signs of neurologic disease.(Traub-Dargatz)”
Relevance: Currently, there is not a way to reliably prevent the development of EHM in the face of an EHV-1 outbreak. Any safe tool that we can use to decrease the risk to our horses would seem to be a very good thing. I would caution owners to consult with their equine veterinarian or nutritionist prior to adding any supplement to their horse’s diet.
White Paper (via email): Hembrooke, T. PhD, University of California, Davis and Stratton Phelps, M. DVM, MVPM, DACVIM, DACVN. Zinc and Lysine in EHV-1.