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admin 14.04.2016

Ottawa, ON — Equine Canada’s Health and Welfare Committee is notifying horse owners that Neurotropic Equine Herpes Virus-1 (EHV-1) has been confirmed in horses in Southern Ontario and California. The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) has been notified of a confirmed case of Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy (EHM), caused by EHV-1, in Southern Ontario.
California has had 16 confirmed cases of EVH1 and two that are believed to have had Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy. Equine Canada is working with Canada’s veterinarians to monitor the situation and keep our members abreast of developments in the United States and Canada.
EHV-1 is easily spread by sharing contaminated equipment, contact with an animal carrying the virus, or by the clothing, hands or equipment of visitors to farms who recently had contact with an infected horse. Owners are encouraged to speak with their veterinarian if they have additional concerns or questions.
On February 20, a Quarter Horse stable in Chicoutimi, QC, noticed one of its top mares was exhibiting some neurological health abnormalities. The stable in Chicoutimi has been put on full quarantine and all 53 horses are being carefully monitored for symptoms. There is still only one confirmed nEHV-1 case at HITS Ocala, FL, and the horse was isolated at that time and is still recovering and in stable condition at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine in Gainesville, FL.
At the FTI Consulting Wellington Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL, Equestrian Sport Productions announced that the two horses who were tested for EHV-1 after coming in contact with a horse that had tested positive for EHV-1 (not the neurological strain) and were in Federation Equestre International (FEI) stabling at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center were found negative.
EHV is a disease that is State controlled in Florida and State and local veterinarians are monitoring all potentially exposed horses and have put biosecurity procedures in place and are supervising the quarantined premises.
The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) has been notified of a confirmed case of Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy (EHM), caused by equine herpes virus 1 (EHV-1), in Southern Ontario.A blood sample from a horse with severe neurological signs tested positive for EHV-1 in early January.
Because infected horses may show no clinical signs, but still shed the virus, the temperature of suspect animals should be monitored twice daily for 14 -21 days and any abnormalities discussed with a veterinarian. All horse owners should be reminded to practice vaccination and appropriate biosecurity protocols and procedures (see links below) for horses and equipment coming on and off the farm, particularly if traveling to shows or events.
Current EHV vaccines may reduce viral shedding but are not protective against the neurological form of the disease.


The resources listed below contain excellent information on basic biosecurity practices and infection control. Equine Herpes Virus is an opportunity to remind your clients that the best method of disease control is disease prevention.
FEBRUARY 25TH, 2015 – The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) has been notified of a confirmed case of Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy (EHM), caused by equine herpes virus 1 (EHV-1), in the Regional Municipality of Waterloo. In 2014, there was one laboratory-confirmed case of EHM in Ontario due to the non-neuropathogenic strain. EHV-1 is easily spread by nose-to-nose or close contact with an infectious horse, by sharing contaminated equipment (bits, buckets, towels etc.) or by the clothing, hands or equipment of people who recently had contact with an infectious horse. Current EHV-1 vaccines may reduce viral shedding but are not protective against the neurological form of the disease.
Brain tissue from a horse with severe neurological signs tested positive for EHV-1 neuropathogenic strain. EHV-1 is not a federally reportable disease but is immediately notifiable by laboratories under the reporting regulation of the provincial Animal Health Act. The mare was referred to the Large Animal clinic at the University of Montreal Veterinary Hospital in Saint-Hyacinthe, QC, on February 23 and was admitted directly to the isolation unit and was not in contact with any other animals at the hospital. Strict biosecurity procedures have been put in place to prevent spread of this disease from this farm. The quarantine on FEI stabling, which was set by the State of Florida Department of Agriculture in collaboration with Equestrian Sport Productions, has been lifted. Subsequently, in accordance with international guidelines, Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has no authority for requesting certification related to this disease from the United States Department of Agriculture when importing horses from the United States (US).
Implementing routine biosecurity practices is the best way to minimize the spread of this disease. In cases of neurological disease, a veterinarian's first obligation is to rule out rabies if the animal dies or is euthanized, by submitting a brain sample to CFIA. This is the first case diagnosed in Ontario this year; however, cases of EHM have been diagnosed in Texas, Virginia, Minnesota and New Jersey this month.


Neurological signs, if they develop, may include loss or balance, hind-limb weakness, recumbency, difficulty urinating, decreased tail tone and depression. This highlights the need for routine biosecurity measures (including hand hygiene and basic cleaning and disinfection practices) to be in place at all times to prevent a disease outbreak. The horse owner voluntarily placed the premises under a self-imposed quarantine to reduce the risk of viral spread. 26, 2013, a horse who had shown on the HITS Post Time Farm show grounds in Ocala tested positive for EHV-1 (not the neurological strain). Import conditions for all horses entering Canada from the US will not be changed in relation to the EHV cases in the US. On a second farm in the same area, another horse with similar signs was euthanized in late December. It is important that a veterinarian assess suspect cases of EHM, since it can be difficult to distinguish between this and other serious diseases, such as rabies, that can affect the nervous system in horses. Appropriate personal protection, such as gloves and a face shield, should be used when collecting samples.
It is important that a veterinarian assess suspect cases of EHM since it can be difficult to distinguish this from other serious neurological diseases, such as rabies. Another horse with similar signs was euthanized in late December on a separate location, but unfortunately no samples were taken so the case could not be confirmed as EHV-1. As a result of another case of EHV-1, the entire HITS Ocala show grounds are under quarantine as of the afternoon of Feb. The previous biosecurity protocols that were enacted on February 22 are still in place and will remain until further notice. However, as always, imported horses need to comply with all current Canadian import conditions.



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