Neurotropic Equine Herpes Virus -1 Found in Quebec

By Julie Cull
 
February 28, 2013

Equine Canada's Health and Welfare Committee is notifying horse owners that Neurotropic Equine Herpes Virus-1 (nEHV-1) has been reported in a horse in the province of Quebec. This is the neurological strain of Equine Herpes Virus 1 (EHV 1). Outbreaks of nEHV-1 are contagious and have a significant risk of mortality.
 
On February 20, a Quarter Horse stable in Chicoutimi, QC, noticed one of its top mares was exhibiting some neurological health abnormalities. 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. Within a few hours, the mare rapidly deteriorated and was humanly euthanized. Subsequent tests determined that she had nEHV-1.
 
The stable in Chicoutimi has been put on full quarantine and all 53 horses are being carefully monitored for symptoms. Strict biosecurity procedures have been put in place to prevent spread of this disease from this farm.
 
Updates from HITS Ocala and Wellington Equestrian Festival
 
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. On the evening of Feb. 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). As a result of another case of EHV-1, the entire HITS Ocala show grounds are under quarantine as of the afternoon of Feb. 27, but the horse show continues to run as usual. For additional information on the status of the situation at HITS Ocala, please visit www.hitsshows.com/ocala .
 
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. 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. Competition will continue as scheduled for the all CSIO classes. The previous biosecurity protocols that were enacted on February 22 are still in place and will remain until further notice. Additional information regarding the circumstances at FTI Consulting Wellington Equestrian Festival are found at www.equestriansport.com.
 
Additional EHV Information
 
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 Florida boarder remains open at this time.
 
Equine Herpes Virus (EHV) is not a federally controlled disease in Canada. 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). Import conditions for all horses entering Canada from the US will not be changed in relation to the EHV cases in the US. However, as always, imported horses need to comply with all current Canadian import conditions. In addition, arrival of unwell horses at the border can affect the import process.
 
Any new information and status updates regarding the outbreak of nEHV-1 will be posted on the Equine Canada website at www.equinecanada.ca.
 
Outbreak control of EHV-1 is dependent on proper biosecurity or containment strategies. Equine Canada strongly urges owners to cosult the following resources to better understand the nature and control of this infectious disease:
•    Government of Alberta Office of the Chief Provincial Veterinarian - nEHV-1 - http://bit.ly/jqjiDg, and 
•     The American Association of Equine Practitioners
Please visit the Division of Animal Industry of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at www.freshfromflorida.com for updates on the cases in Florida and
www.cdfa.ca.gov/ahfss/animal_health/equine_biosecurity.html for a Biosecurity Toolkit for Equine Events.
 
Owners are encouraged to speak with their veterinarian if they have additional concerns or questions.

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