Horse Tests Positive for Vesicular Stomatitis in Las Animas, Colorado August 2, 2012

August 8, 2012 – A horse tested positive for vesicular stomatitis (VS) in Las Animas County, Colorado on August 2, 2012. Vesicular Stomatitis is a reportable disease as per the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), meaning that horse owners must immediately report the presence of any horse suspected of being affected by the disease. The disease causes blister-like lesions to be formed on the inside of the mouth, nose and hooves, alongside flu like symptoms and anorexia.

The affected horse in Colorado had not travelled recently and was believed to have contracted the disease from an insect bite. The facility was quarantined following the diagnosis. Several cases have been identified in New Mexico in 2012, however, this marks the first case confirmed in Colorado. A release issued by the Colorado Department of Agriculture stated that this “represents a northern movement of the virus”. No cases have been suspected in Canada.

As a result of the outbreak in Colorado, the CFIA has issued the following amendments to import and export policies for horses travelling to the United States effective immediately until further notice:

  1. The importation of horses from the State of Colorado (CO) and New Mexico (NM) for all end-uses will be prohibited (except for Canadian horses returning from CO or NM-please see below).
  2. For horses coming from the US, for all end-uses, from all other states, the following requirement applies:
  • During the previous twenty-one (21) days, the animal(s) in this shipment has/have not been in the state of Colorado or New Mexico.

For Canadian Horses going to and returning from the U.S:

It is now necessary that they bring their animals back to Canada with an import permit and a U.S. health certificate containing supplementary certification confirming their disease-free status.

Supplementary certification should include the following:

  • The horse(s) were inspected by a veterinarian within fifteen (15) days preceding the date of importation;
  • The horse(s) have not been on a premises where Vesicular Stomatitis (clinical or serology) has occurred during the 60 days immediately preceding exportation to Canada, nor has this disease occurred on any adjoining premises during the same period of time.
  • The horses must have tested negative to Vesicular Stomatitis using a cELISA test, during the fifteen (15) days prior to the date of importation into Canada.

Alternatively, they may move their horses to alternate states and establish residency in that state for at least 21 days prior to export to Canada. In that case, the horses will be returning to Canada on a U.S. health certificate that includes a statement for non residency in Colorado or New Mexico during the last 21 days prior to export to Canada (i.e.”During the previous twenty-one (21) days, the animal(s) in this shipment has/have not been in the state of Colorado or New Mexico”).

Horses should not be moved to the state of Texas, where other disease restrictions are in place, and residency in these states affects import requirements.

Note: Various U.S. states may also prohibit movement into state without permit/certification/testing/post- entry testing. The Canadian horse owner should check state requirements before movement.

Equine piroplasmosis related import restrictions on Texas and New Mexico are still applicable.

Import conditions in AIRS have been adjusted accordingly.

Further information on vesicular stomatitis, its clinical signs and transmission can be found on the CFIA Vesicular Stomatitis Fact Sheet.

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