Equid herpesvirus 1 (EHV-1) is one of the most economically important equine viral pathogens. Its clinical manifestations in horses vary from acute upper respiratory tract disease, abortion, or neonatal death, to neurological disease termed equine herpesviral myeloencephalopathy, which may lead to paralysis and a fatal outcome. Successful identification of EHV-1 infection in horses depends on a variety of factors such as suitable case selection with emphasis on timing of sample collection, selection of appropriate sample(s) based on the clinical manifestations, application of relevant diagnostic technique(s) and/or test(s), and careful evaluation and interpretation of laboratory results. Several traditional serologic and virus isolation assays have been described; however, these assays have inherent limitations that prevent rapid and reliable detection of EHV-1. The advent of molecular biologic techniques has revolutionized the diagnosis of infectious diseases in humans and animal species. Specifically, polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based assays have allowed detection of nucleic acid in clinical specimens precisely and rapidly as compared to the traditional methods that detect the agent or antigen, or agent-specific antibodies in serum. The new molecular methods, especially real-time PCR, can be a very useful means of EHV-1 detection and identification. Veterinarians involved in equine practice must be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of various real-time PCR assays, interpretation of viral genetic marker(s), and latency in order to provide the best standard of care for their equine patients.