Systemic equid alphaherpesvirus 9 in a Grant’s zebra

Robert B Moeller, Beate Crossley, Arlena Pipkin, Yanqiu Li, Udeni B.R. Balasuriya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


A 2-y-old female Grant’s zebra (Equus quagga [burchellii] boehmi) was presented with a clinical history of depression, anorexia, and weakness of 1-wk duration. Postmortem examination identified ulcers on the tongue and palate; a large abscess adjacent to the larynx; left lung consolidation; mild swelling, darkening, and congestion of the liver with accentuation of the lobular pattern; and edema and congestion of the distal small and large intestines. Histologic examination identified necrotizing bronchopneumonia, necrotizing hepatitis, nephritis, and enterocolitis. Eosinophilic intranuclear inclusions were detected in syncytial cells and degenerate bronchial epithelium in the lungs and in some hepatocytes associated with necrotic foci. Bacterial cultures of the lung, liver, and laryngeal abscess failed to detect any significant pathogen. Lung and liver tested positive for equine herpesvirus with neuropathogenic marker by real-time PCR. Subsequently, equine herpesvirus was isolated in tissue culture, and the entire viral DNA polymerase gene (ORF30) was sequenced. The zebra lung isolate had a very close nucleotide and amino acid sequence identity to equid alphaherpesvirus 9 (EHV-9; 99.6% and 99.8%, respectively) in contrast to the neuropathogenic T953 strain of EHV-1 (94.7% and 96.6%, respectively). Although zebras are considered the natural host for EHV-9, we document an unusual acute systemic, fatal EHV-9 infection in a 2-y-old Grant’s zebra.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)580-583
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018


  • EHV-9
  • Equid alphaherpesvirus 9
  • equine herpesviruses
  • Grant’s zebra
  • zebra herpesvirus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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