Equine multinodular pulmonary fibrosis (EMPF) is a recently described form of interstitial pneumonia associated with equine herpesvirus type 5 (EHV-5). This disease has been reported in North and South America, Europe and Oceania but not, to our knowledge, in horses in Japan. We diagnosed EMPF in two Thoroughbred horses in Japan on the basis of gross and histopathological findings. In both cases, significant gross lesions, restricted to the lungs, consisted of numerous firm and coalescing nodules widely distributed throughout the lung. The nodules were <3 cm in diameter and pale white to tan in colour. Microscopically, they showed severe interstitial fibrosis and infiltration of macrophages, neutrophils, lymphocytes and a few eosinophils. The residual alveoli were lined by cuboidal epithelial cells (type II pneumocytes) and filled with many macrophages, which rarely displayed oval eosinophilic to amphophilic intranuclear inclusion bodies. Polymerase chain reaction and sequence analyses identified the glycoprotein H gene of EHV-5, and in-situ hybridization detected EHV-5 in the alveolar macrophages in the lesions. In one case, electron microscopy revealed herpesvirus-like particles and EHV-5 was isolated from pulmonary lesions.
Keywords: Japan; equine herpesvirus type 5; equine multinodular pulmonary fibrosis; horse.
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