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Just over two weeks after trans-Tasman equine flights resumed following a COVID-19-enforced shutdown, exports from New Zealand to Australia have been suspended indefinitely yet again, this time due to a possible case of equine piroplasmosis. On May 20, New Zealand's Ministry of Primary Industries informed exporters that shipments to Australia had been suspended with immediate effect. A flight Tuesday night was prevented from leaving the country, and another shipment, scheduled for Friday night, is also expected to be held over as the department negotiates alternative arrangements with their Australian counterparts, the Department of Agriculture. Friday's flight, though, was still scheduled to depart as of Wednesday night; a number of owners with horses set for that shipment had not been informed about any potential delay. Equine piroplasmosis has never been identified in New Zealand before, but MPI director for animal health and welfare Chris Rodwell confirmed that a mare tested positive to equine piroplasmosis in a pre-export blood test. The mare had arrived in New Zealand last year from a European Union country that is known to harbor the tick-borne disease. Further testing is expected to confirm that the horse is infected with Theileria equi, one of two known parasites to transmit equine piroplasmosis. Rodwell told ANZ Bloodstock News: "Further blood tests have been taken from the mare, and we expect confirmation of whether the horse is negative or positive for the disease by the end of this week. "Theileria equi is a blood disease that causes anemia and is spread from animal to animal by ticks. The horse in question was imported to New Zealand from the EU early last year for breeding. No signs of disease in the animal have been reported in its time here." While the disease cannot be passed from horse to horse without the ticks known to transmit the parasite—with those tick species not found in New Zealand—most veterinary agreements with other countries require that equine piroplasmosis has not been present in the exporting country for a certain period of time. For Australia, the requirement is three years—meaning that, under the current certification process, trans-Tasman exports would be banned until 2023. While other arrangements are likely to be determined as a matter of urgency, it is a blow to the beleaguered New Zealand industry at a time when it is already under tremendous pressure. Even a temporary ban has the potential to upset spring preparations and breeding plans for New Zealand-based mares in Australia. On Wednesday night, MPI was moving to reassure horse owners that they were working as fast as possible with an aim to find a quick solution. "MPI is aware this situation may cause some concern to those in the equine sector, and work is underway to resolve things as quickly as possible to ensure ongoing horse exports are not interrupted," Rodwell said. "Some countries, including Australia, that import horses from New Zealand require certification that New Zealand is free of Theileria equi. This current suspect test result has meant that MPI cannot currently provide that assurance of country-freedom status. The ministry's market access specialists are working with Australian authorities to explore alternative assurance options to allow exports to continue." Biosecurity New Zealand has already started an investigation to confirm that it is an isolated case of equine piroplasmosis, but questions remain as to how a case could not only have occurred in New Zealand but how it could have gone undetected for so long. "The horse met MPI's importing requirements in that it had received a negative test for Theileria equi within 30 days of shipment," Rodwell said. "Before shipment, horses are quarantined and treated to remove any ticks that may be present. They are also further inspected and quarantined on arrival." According to the World Organisation for Animal Health, either of the two parasites that carry equine piroplasmosis—Babesia caballi and Theileria equi—can be found on most continents, including much of Europe. The Theileria equi parasite has also been reported in Australia in the past; the most recent case was an outbreak in the Southern Highlands region of New South Wales in 1976, but it did not take hold, and Australia is now considered to be free of equine piroplasmosis. The official zoosanitary certificate, which must be certified prior to export to Australia, states that New Zealand must have been free of 16 diseases for a three-year period prior to export; equine piroplasmosis is on that list, along with the likes of African horse sickness, equine influenza, and glanders. MPI's Dr. Emma Passmore stated in an email to exporters: "The export certificate for horses traveling to Australia, either for transit or permanent import, requires MPI to certify that no clinical, epidemiological, or other evidence of equine piroplasmosis has occurred in New Zealand within the three-year period immediately prior to export. This can no longer be certified, and exports to or via Australia are suspended with immediate effect." While Australia is the biggest market to be affected and also has notoriously strict quarantine laws, exports to other countries will also be potentially compromised. Macau requires the exporting country to have been free of equine piroplasmosis for two years, and Singapore asks for extra tests and treatments to be completed if the country has not been free from equine piroplasmosis for 12 months. The United States also requires that the country has been free of equine piroplasmosis for 12 months. Japan has no time frame but also requires a piroplasmosis-free environment. However, Hong Kong's requirements are less stringent, simply requiring a horse not to have completed its pre-export quarantine on premises where equine piroplasmosis has occurred in the 60 days prior to export. Exporters on Wednesday night were digesting the ban and the potential implications that may follow if it is prolonged beyond the next couple of weeks. Most suggested that the immediate suspension of exports to Australia was an unfortunate but required step. "This is very disappointing news, but the suspension is totally necessary at this time," Equine International Airfreight managing director Cameron Croucher said. "Just as flights were starting to operate across the Tasman after the COVID-19 shutdowns, outcomes of this nature will be very disappointing to owners and trainers who now face a further delay in relocating their bloodstock. "I'm sure that both government departments in New Zealand and Australia will work very hard to find a quick solution to resume services once confirmatory testing is completed. Also, a proper investigation is needed into how this has been allowed to occur, which could have a massive impact on the New Zealand Thoroughbred industry if the suspension is prolonged, especially leading into the Southern Hemisphere breeding season." In the past week, a number of New Zealand horses have been confirmed as relocating to Australia, and Cambridge Stud last week announced that a number of its fillies would join the Te Akau assault on the Melbourne spring. In addition, almost 200 mares crossed the Tasman from New Zealand for breeding purposes in 2019, with a similar number expected this year. By Andrew Hawkins/ANZ Bloodstock News Reprinted with permission of Bloodhorse

Nakhon Ratchasima, April 20 (Reuters) - Thailand began vaccinating some 4,000 horses on Monday in a bid to contain the spread of the deadly African Horse Sickness (AHS), a disease that only affects horses and other equine animals. More than 200 horses in seven provinces have died since the outbreak was first reported earlier this year, the first time the highly infectious AHS virus, transmitted by insects, has appeared in Southeast Asia. Horse owners in northeastern Nakhon Ratchasima province have installed mosquito nets on stables and conduct regular temperature and health checks, while putting sick horses under quarantine. The government has also banned the import and export of horses, zebras and related animals. Veterinarians say if the disease cannot be contained by mass vaccination, it could wipe out all 11,800 horses in Thailand, where they are kept for racing and leisure riding for tourists and private owners. "Without any prevention, 10 out of 10 horses will contract the virus... nine out of 10 sick horses will die from it," Aree Laikul a veterinarian from Kasetsart University's faculty of Veterinary Medicine who is helping the vaccination drive. There have been no reported cases of AHS in humans, and it is not related to the coronavirus pandemic. AHS is endemic in the central tropical regions of Africa, from where it spreads regularly to Southern Africa and occasionally to North Africa, according to information from the World Organization for Animal Health. (Editing by Kay Johnson & Simon Cameron-Moore)   By Panu Wongcha-um and Panarat Thepgumpanat   Reprinted with permission of Reuters

More than 100 racing yards were on lockdown this past Thursday Feb 7 as horse races were called off due to a flu outbreak in Britain. All horse owners need to guard against the very real and present threat of equine influenza. According to a recent FEI health update in response to equine flu outbreaks, the virus can be easily transmitted between horses that are in close contact, such as attending events, group training and hunting, or between vaccinated and unvaccinated horses in the home yard. “Vaccinating horses against equine influenza is key to combating the spread of equine influenza,” FEI Veterinary Director Göran Åkerström said. “It is important that all horses are vaccinated, regardless of whether or not they compete or come into contact with other horses, but there are also biosecurity measures that should be put in place, including best hygiene practices.” Plan Ahead The approach of spring and the anticipation of outings and increased exposure to pathogens means it is time to book the vet for shots. How well do you understand the vaccines currently available and the discussions you should have with your vet? Six questions are asked in Equine Guelph’s healthcare tool – the Vaccination Equi-Planner, kindly sponsored by Merck Animal Health, to help horse owners start those conversations. Every farm has different risk factors including: age, use, sex, exposure to outside horses and geography. Whether you are the proud owner of a young foal, competition horse, hobbyhorse or broodmare, the Vaccination Equi-Planner (EquineGuelph.ca/vaccinationtool) points out considerations for each and discusses different core and optional vaccines your vet may recommend. Your veterinarian will be up to date on what diseases are endemic in your location. Did you know horses aged 1 - 5 tend to be more susceptible to influenza? Horses that travel or are exposed to travelling horses or new arrivals are also at increased risk. "Equine influenza is one of the most frequent respiratory tract disease in horses. As such, it has a significant impact on equine populations worldwide. Vaccination along with appropriate biosecurity measures remains one of the most effective ways to prevent this highly contagious disease. However, immunity against influenza is rather short-lived, so horses that are at higher risk of getting infected can benefit from a semi-annual booster. Horse owners should discuss with their veterinarian the most appropriate vaccination schedule based on their horses’ specific circumstances. Also, as the influenza virus constantly changes through antigenic drift, best practice calls for using a vaccine that includes recent strains of influenza as recommended by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). An influenza modified live virus vaccine can also provide coverage against current strains through broad cross-protection," says Dr. Serge Denis, Equine Consultant with Merck Animal Health. What is a Modified Live Vaccine? A modified live equine A/Equine 2 influenza vaccine for intranasal administration is commercially available in Canada. “I have had some interesting conversations with horse owners regarding vaccinations,” says Veterinarian and Ontario Association of Equine Practitioner President Amy Bennet. “There does seem to be some misconceptions regarding specific vaccines, especially the modified live vaccines. By far, the biggest concern I hear from horse owners is that their horse could potentially become sick from the modified live vaccine and they are concerned that their horse could then pass this disease onto other horses. I also hear concerns of unvaccinated horses becoming inadvertently vaccinated from a recently vaccinated horse within the herd.” Bennet explains, a modified live vaccine is derived from the naturally occurring pathogen but is modified in a way that it doesn’t produce clinical disease, while still mounting a strong immune response. Modified live vaccines for influenza are given intra-nasally. When the vaccine replicates in the horse’s nasal mucosa, a rapid local immune response occurs. The horse develops an immune response that combats disease similar to when the horse is exposed to the wild strain equine influenza virus, making sure that the tissues that would be first exposed to the disease have the strongest immunity to it.   By giving a modified live vaccine, your veterinarian is administering a live pathogen, that has been modified so it will not cause the clinical disease but will mount an immune response to help provide protection against the disease, should the animal ever be exposed. More about the science behind modified live and inactivated vaccines can be found at EquineGuelph.ca/vaccinationtool under resources. Know the Rules Given the highly contagious nature of the disease and the impact on horse health and industry economics, some racing regulators, like British Horse Racing Authority, and racetracks, such as Woodbine, as well as organizations including the United States Equestrian Federation, Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) and Equestrian Canada have rules requiring vaccination against equine influenza. Check on the records required. For example, Equine Canada passports must be signed and stamped by your certified veterinarian and filled in with the date of administration, name and batch number of vaccine, method of administration (Intra-muscular or Intra-nasal) among other specified details. There are also windows of time before competitions for the administrations of vaccines to be aware of.   Equine Guelph and Merck Animal Health are pleased to provide a comprehensive starting point for horse owners to begin drafting their annual personalized immunization plan with the Vaccination Equi-Planner. This information will help when discussing vaccinations with your vet. Image Caption: The personalized questions in EquineGuelph.ca/vaccinationtoolhelps horse owners start conversations with their vet for an annual plan.   By: Jackie Bellamy Zions

Guelph, ON April, 11, 2018 - Researchers at the University of Guelph are searching for clues to better manage a virus that can cause late gestation abortion in mares.   Horses carrying equine herpesvirus (EHV) may exhibit signs as minor as a runny nose and mild fever, but the virus is a major cause of neurological, respiratory and reproductive disease, including abortions, in the equine industry.   Horses often are infected early in life and EHV can remain in the body for life, reactivating at any time, but it’s not clear what causes this to happen. Something pushes it over the edge to disease manifestation, explains Dr. Brandon Lillie, a pathologist in the Department of Pathobiology at the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College (OVC).   While vaccination is recommended to protect against EHV, the virus continues to occur in vaccinated herds. Affected horses may abort their foals or foals may be born apparently healthy only to die a short time later.   Lillie and Dr. Luis Arroyo, a clinician and researcher in OVC’s Department of Clinical Studies, along with their research team are trying to better understand how the virus exists in the horse population, uncover what triggers the virus to cause disease and assess ways to maximize current EHV vaccination efficacy and minimize the virus’s effect on the horses’ health. In particular, they are focusing on the abortive affect of the virus.   EHV can present in a number of ways, explains Arroyo. Horses may demonstrate neurological signs; they may have difficulty walking, they may have difficulty urinating because the nerves to their bladder are inflamed, or they may exhibit milder symptoms like a runny nose, or no symptoms at all.   A mare may not show clinical signs of the virus at all, but could lose a foal who is loaded with the virus, he adds. Conversely, some mares may be clearly diseased but their pregnancy isn’t compromised.   The cyclical nature of the virus is part of the challenge. Farms may report no abortions for a couple of years and then suddenly they have two or three.   The researchers began with a survey of Ontario horse farms to better understand the current state of the industry, looking at herd sizes, abortion rates and prevalence of EHV-related diseases.   Beginning in December 2016, they began sampling horses on farms across Ontario – from Ottawa to Windsor and Sudbury to the Niagara Region.    The farms include large racing operations with dozens of mares to smaller farms with two, three or six mares. Says Lillie, “We are focusing on the mares because that is the major way that foals get infected. We think that’s an important area to look at and understand.”   Horses on each farm will be sampled six times over 12 months, essentially covering the entire gestational cycle of horses.   Lillie and Arroyo are also examining the best way to sample for the virus, looking at nasal swabs, vaginal swabs and blood samples.   “If a mare is shedding are there different levels in different places, are you better to swab a horse’s nose or to take a blood sample?” asks Lillie.   They will test the samples for presence of the virus or viral DNA levels and also look at serology, the mare’s antibody level or immune response to the virus. Using this information, researchers can then determine how prevalent the virus is, the impact of vaccines on the virus and the mare’s ability to mount an immune response.   On the farms being studied, there is also a fairly even split between those who vaccinate and those who don’t.    “Hopefully we’ll start to see some trends,” adds Lillie. “Ultimately, when abortions occur, we can look back and see if the shedding pattern changed and if one type of sampling was a key indicator.”   Another area they will assess is how the antibody response pattern changes with horses throughout the year. Preliminary evidence suggests not all mares respond the same way to the virus or have the same antibody level patterns over the year.   The host, the pathogen, the farm’s management strategy and the environment all contribute to the occurrence of disease particularly when a virus is there all the time, adds Lillie.   Ultimately, the researchers hope to make some changes in how the disease is diagnosed and managed. “Maybe vaccine protocols need tweaking,” he says. “Maybe the current vaccination schedule isn’t the best as far as timing or maybe another one is needed in there, or perhaps the virus has evolved a bit.”   Funding for the study has come from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and a University of Guelph Catalyst Grant, as well as funding from Equine Guelph and the Zoetis Investment in Innovation Fund.   Web Link: http://www.equineguelph.ca/news/index.php?content=541    by: Karen Mantel  

Harrisburg, PA - A Standardbred horse at The Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Washington County tested positive yesterday for equine herpes virus, or EHV-1, making it the second confirmed case in the state this month. Last week, veterinarians with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine confirmed a case at the school's New Bolton Center in Kennett Square, Chester County. The Washington County horse tested positive after it was moved to the Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine for diagnostic tests. Veterinarians report that the horse is responding well to treatment. As a precaution, two barns at the Meadows racetrack have been quarantined to control any potential spread of the virus. Trainers are monitoring two of approximately 60 potentially exposed horses in the quarantined barns that presented with elevated temperatures. No additional horses at the racetrack have shown signs of clinical illness, but the movement of horses into or out of the track has been restricted until all horses receive a clean bill of health. The Meadows Racetrack was closed yesterday due to a power outage and poor track conditions, but reopened today. Clinically healthy horses are being allowed to jog around the track to stay in shape. Pending improvement in track conditions, all non-quarantined horses should be eligible to race again on Saturday. In the New Bolton Center case last week, a 30-year-old horse developed symptoms compatible with equine herpes myeloencephalopathy, or EHM, then tested positive for EHV-1 on January 16. A second horse, housed in an adjacent barn, also developed a fever and later tested positive for EHV-1. The second horse was moved to a state-of-the-art, on-site isolation facility with dedicated staff who are entirely separate from personnel handling other horses. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture contacted owners and quarantined other potentially exposed horses that left the New Bolton Center prior to confirming the EHM diagnosis. To control the spread of the virus, Orders of Special Quarantine were posted at other Pennsylvania premises that had recently received potentially exposed horses. In addition to increased biosecurity, these locations are required to conduct twice daily temperature checks, monitor, and report any horses showing signs of EHV-1 infection. No new cases have been identified since the original diagnosis. EHV-1 is a highly contagious virus that commonly circulates in horse populations. Depending on the specific strain of the virus, the equine herpes virus can cause a variety of clinical signs in infected horses, including respiratory disease or abortion in pregnant mares. The EHM form of the disease can cause horses to suffer varying degrees of paralysis and ataxia; in severe cases, the infected horse may be euthanized. While EHV-1 can cause illness in horses, other equine animals and camelids (llamas and alpacas), it does not pose a health threat to people or other animals. Unless a new case is detected, all horses can be cleared after 28 days without symptoms, or after 21 days with confirmation of negative test results for both blood samples and nasal swab tests. Experts note that many horses carry a latent form of the herpes virus, and symptoms may not appear unless the animal is stressed. Although horses are vaccinated for other strains of the equine herpes virus, there is no existing vaccine for the EHV-1 strain of the virus. For more information about equine herpes, please refer to the American Association of Equine Practitioners. Bonnie McCann - 717.783.0133

More than 60 harness racing horses are being quarantined at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino because of a contagious virus. The Equine Disease Communication Center reported Wednesday a Disease Oubreak Alert regarding Equine Herpes Virus at The Meadows. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture was notified that a Standardbred horse at The Meadows had showed clinical signs consistent with Equine Herpes Virus Myeloencephalopathy. The horse tested positive for EHV-1 and is under medical treatment. Two barns at The Meadows are under quarantine because of a horse moved earlier from the original exposed barn. The horse, which caused the second barn’s movement restriction, is not showing clinical signs of the virus. A daily monitoring period for clinical signs in the remaining exposed, asymptomatic horses is ongoing. EVH-1 can cause four manifestations of disease in horses, including a neurological form, respiratory disease, abortion and neonatal death. EHM is most often caused by mutant or neuropathogenic strains of EHV-1, so called because of a particular mutation in the genome. The Meadows canceled its harness racing card Tuesday citing a power failure. The track’s Wednesday card was called off with the track citing poor track conditions as the cause. The track does not have another racing card scheduled until Saturday afternoon. Jim McNutt Reprinted with permission of the Observer-Reporter  

In 2013, a devastating outbreak of Equine Herpes Virus One caused four confirmed cases in Thoroughbred and Standardbred horses and three confirmed deaths.   The development reinforced Equine Guelph's sense that the Ontario horse racing industry - one filled with high-value animals and frequent movement - was in need of further education on biosecurity and infectious disease prevention.   Accessing funding through the Agricultural Adaptation Council, Equine Guelph developed and delivered 'BIOSECURITY - Spread the word not the germs.' The first-of-its-kind campaign targeted infectious diseases in the Ontario horse racing industry. The initiative changed the equine industry's approach to biosecurity and delivered lasting resources still used today.   In order to reach such a broad community, Equine Guelph used a peer-to-peer educational approach to bring the industry together.   In April 2015, Equine Guelph started by educating horse racing officials. Ontario Racing Commission investigators, judges and stewards received training on biosecurity, arming the officials with the resources needed to visit all 10 Ontario race tracks in the spring and summer of 2015 to spread the word on biosecurity. On their visits, officials discussed how to improve biosecurity and provided an assortment of training materials.   The biosecurity campaign is more than just a communications success story; it created tangible resources for the equine industry, both racing and non-racing. The training content used has been added to Equine Guelph's equine biosecurity two-week online eWorkshop and has been modified and distributed to a general equine audience across Canada.   The project was funded in part through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of GF2 in Ontario.   Now available on TheHorsePortal.ca - all horse owners and care givers can learn Canada's biosecurity code for Equines.   You can also access Equine Guelph's free Biosecurity Calculator to evaluate the biosecurity risk on your farm. In 10 minutes you can be on your way to a biosecurity plan utilizing simple ways to protect your horse from infectious disease.      

This is a reminder to all Harness Racing Industry participants, that with the increased movement of horses associated with breeding activities, horses being broken in, and horses moving into training, that we all need to be aware of the possible occurrence and transmission of Strangles. Currently there are three properties temporarily quarantined in Victoria because of the occurrence of Strangles. Streptococcus Equi Equi - Strangles -  is a highly contagious and generally an upper respiratory tract bacterial infection of horses. Clinical signs of the disease may include an elevated temperature, mucopurulent nasal discharge, and enlargement of the lymph nodes beneath the jaw/throat area, which may lead onto abscessation, difficulty eating, and difficulty breathing (the origin of the word Strangles). Rarely horses will develop abscesses in other sites either externally or internally such as in the abdominal or thoracic cavities - abscesses in these areas are the cause of what is known as Bastard Strangles - these horses become chronic poor doers, usually carriers, and can die of complications associated with the abscesses. There is a view in veterinary circles that horses that are gelded while incubating Strangles are at a greater risk of developing post-operative complications such as peritonitis, and it is thought to be unwise to geld horses that have recently been exposed to horses with Strangles.   Strangles can be fatal at worst, and occurrence normally leads to easily preventable animal welfare issues, and severe economic loss through interruption to training and racing. Strangles is immediately notifiable to both Harness Racing Victoria and the State Government Primary Industry Departments. Harness Racing Victoria participants are required to inform Harness Racing Victoria (the Stewards Department) and their own veterinarian immediately if they have reason to suspect that Strangles is present in a horse or property under their control - an accurate diagnosis is well worth the effort. Strangles is highly contagious and difficult to eradicate from stables and horse populations once established. The best chance of eradicating Strangles from a property is to stop further spread from the primary case. Industry participants are strongly encouraged to review Bio-Security and basic horse health management practices such as regular temperature taking (particularly in racing horses), and to Quarantine, as best as possible, new or returning horses to properties, especially racing stables. Strangles is spread not only by close horse to horse contact, but also by the use of common gear, feed and water troughs, tie-up areas, and horse transport vehicles ie floats and trucks.   Vaccinations are available to help prevent and minimise the effects of Strangles – an initial course involves 3 vaccinations 2 weeks apart, followed up by 6-12 monthly boosters to maintain immunity - the most economic solution is to use a combined Strangles Tetanus Vaccination. Harness Racing Victoria Stewards, Anthony PEARCE, Stephen SVANOSIO can be contacted in relation to strangles on 03 8378 0289. Harness Racing Victoria

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), in collaboration with Equine Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and other partner organization, is working to develop a farm and facility-level biosecurity standard that will help protect Canada's equine industry from animal diseases. Members of the racing community are asked to review the document and provide feedback. The feedback will be reviewed by the Equine Biosecurity Advisory Committee. Biosecurity standards for Canada's equine industry  

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. The text of the Notice is pasted below. The Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) has determined that this case does not involve a racehorse. However, due to the infectious nature of this virus, the ORC urges participants to take appropriate steps when such cases are reported. Outbreaks of neurological EHV-1 are contagious and have a significant risk of mortality. ANYTHING that touches an infected horse or carries secretions or manure from sick horses has the potential to transfer pathogens to other horses. The horse owner voluntarily placed the premises under a self-imposed quarantine to reduce the risk of viral spread. To date, there have been no further reports of equine illness on the farm. In 2014, there was one laboratory-confirmed case of EHM in Ontario due to the non-neuropathogenic strain. 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. EHV-1 infection in horses can cause respiratory disease, abortion, neonatal foal death, and/or neurological disease. EHV-1 is not a federally reportable disease but is immediately notifiable by laboratories under the reporting regulation of the provincial Animal Health Act. Attending veterinarians suspicious of EHM should contact OMAFRA as soon as possible. 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. Neurological signs, if they develop, may include loss or balance, hind-limb weakness, recumbency, difficulty urinating, decreased tail tone and depression. 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. 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. 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. Special attention should be given to cleaning and disinfecting trailers. Current EHV-1 vaccines may reduce viral shedding but are not protective against the neurological form of the disease. Implementing routine biosecurity practices is the best way to minimize viral spread. The best method of disease control is disease prevention.  

Montreal, August 7 2014 – Yesterday, the Minister of Agriculture, Pierre Paradis, announced his intention to put forward a bill that would redefine animals in the Civil Code of Quebec and grant them the status of sentient beings. In order to proceed with this reform, Mr. Paradis reached an agreement with the Minister of Justice, Stéphanie Vallée. Mr. Paradis’ announcement comes in response to the Animals are not things manifesto, which was launched on January 22nd and has been signed by over 46 000 people. The manifesto, which is supported by theMontreal SPCA, calls for a reconsideration of the legal status of animals in the Civil Code of Quebec. Currently, our Civil Code considers animals to be moveable property, indistinguishable from a toaster or a chair. Under civil law, the act of hurting or abusing an animal is therefore tantamount to the destruction of property. The SPCA applauds Minister Paradis’ willingness to reform the legal status of animals. “Given the importance and complexity of this issue, as well as the fact that over 46 000 Quebec citizens have expressed their concern about it, it is crucial that public consultations take place before moving forward with a bill” said Me Sophie Gaillard, Lawyer and Campaigns Manager for the Montreal SPCA Animal Advocacy Department. “We feel that this is an opportunity to effect real change for animals in this province and for Quebec to become a leader in animal welfare instead of lagging behind.” Anita Kapuscinska, Media Relations Coordinator, Montreal SPCA, 514-226-3932, or anitak@spca.com.

Harrisburg - The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture today announced a quarantine of two barns at Parx Racing in Bensalem, Bucks County, after a horse stabled at the track tested positive for Equine Herpesvirus Type 1 on Saturday, Feb. 15. Barns 19 and 32, housing 74 horses, were quarantined Saturday as a precautionary measure. No other horses have shown signs of illness, but were exposed to the positive horse during the past several weeks. Clinical signs of the disease can range from respiratory to neurological impairment. In most situations, the disease is only mildly contagious. There is no threat to human health from Equine Herpesvirus. The barns and horses are quarantined for at least 21 days before the quarantine can be lifted. Movement of horses is carefully restricted to prevent close contact with the rest of the horses at the track. Strict sanitary and biosecurity standards are enforced. A quarantine order at the track was lifted in January following negative test results from horses that were diagnosed with Equine Herpesvirus in November. Horse owners with concerns may call the Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Animal Health and Diagnostic Services at 717-772-2852. Samantha Elliott Krepps, 717-787-5085    

Agriculture Department Issues Equine Herpesvirus Quarantine for Bucks County Race Track Harrisburg - The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture today issued a strict quarantine order at Parx Racing in Bensalem, Bucks County, after a horse stabled at the track tested positive for Equine Herpesvirus, Type 1. Some horses at the track came into contact with the positive horse and have shown clinical signs of the disease, ranging from fever to neurological impairment. The horses remain under quarantine until test results are completed. There is no threat to human health from Equine Herpesvirus. Barns housing the positive horse and horses showing signs of the virus are quarantined for at least 21 days. Horses must be free of clinical signs for 21 days and test negative for the disease before the quarantine can be lifted. Under the quarantines, movement of horses on and off the track is restricted. Quarantined horses are not permitted to train and strict sanitary and biosecurity standards are enforced. The highly contagious virus causes upper respiratory infection and severe neurological disease in horses. Horse owners with concerns may call the Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Animal Health and Diagnostic Services at 717-772-2852. Media contact: Samantha Elliott Krepps, 717-787-5085  

First Choice Marketing announced today plans to host the 14th Annual Hambletonian Continuing Education Seminar for Equine Veterinarians, to be held in conjunction with the 88th Annual Hambletonian Festival of Racing in East Rutherford, NJ.

The Harness Horse Breeders are pleased to announce current information on Buffalo Raceway's policy to allow horses shipped from Canada to participate in NYSS events, with proper safeguards in place. We applaud their efforts to protect the health and well being of our horse population and their support of the New York harness racing breeding program

George Ducharme's plans for stakes-winning trotter Royalty For Life are in limbo. The harness racing trainer is stabled at Vernon Downs, which is under quarantine since a case of Equine Herpes Virus-1 was diagnosed there on May 4.

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