Horses Test Positive for Vesicular Stomatitis in Arizona, Invoking Import Restrictions

Horses have tested positive for vesicular stomatitis (VS) in the state of Arizona. 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.

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

A)   the importation of horses from the State of Arizona for all end-uses will be prohibited effective immediately (except for Canadian horses returning from Arizona (please see below), and;

B)   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 states of Arizona.

For Canadian horses returning to Canada only:

Canadian horses will be able to enter Canada after a stay in Arizona with an import permit, testing and the following additional certification:

The animal(s) were inspected by a veterinarian within fifteen (15) days preceding the date of importation;

The animals(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 animals must have tested negative to Vesicular Stomatitis using a cELISA test, during the fifteen (15) days prior to the date of importation into Canada.

The alternative option for Canadian horses returning is that they be moved to another state, stay there for at least 21 days and meet the following requirement:

During the previous twenty-one (21) days, the animal(s) in this shipment has/have not been in the states of Arizona.

For Canadian Horses going to and returning from the United States:

Horse owners should be advised of the current outbreak in Arizona, and it should be recommended that they avoid going to this state.

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

Update on Colorado VS Outbreak:

The United States has advised the CFIA that the VS outbreak in Colorado has been resolved. In response, the CFIA has lifted all VS-related restrictions that had been applied on Colorado. The CFIA also lifted VS restrictions for the states of Texas and Nebraska. No cases of VS have been suspected in Canada.

Import conditions in AIRS have been adjusted accordingly:

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

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