EU Places Restrictions on Horses from the United States

The American Horse Council has learned that all horses being exported from the United States to the European Union (EU) now require a negative (1:12) virus neutralization test for vesicular stomatitis (VS). The test samples must be taken within 10 days prior to export for temporary export horses, and within 21 days prior to export for those horses being permanently exported to the EU.

In accordance with EU regulations, this test requirement will remain in place until six months after the VS outbreak. The National Center for Import and Export will provide a target date when the time comes.

EU horses currently in the United States and scheduled to return to the EU must be able to certify they have not been on an affected premises during their time in the United States.

Currently posted equine export certificates provide for these changes.

Some pending shipments may need to be delayed for testing. No U.S. horses can be certified for entry into the EU until test results are reported.

Vesicular stomatitis is a viral disease characterized by fever, vesicles, and subsequent erosions in the mouth and epithelium on the teats and feet. Horses are particularly susceptible, but cattle and pigs are also susceptible; sheep and goats are rarely affected. The clinical signs of VS in cattle and pigs is virtually indistinguishable from foot and mouth disease making the disease a significant concern. Laboratory confirmation is needed when the disease appears in cattle and pigs. Humans can also be infected through contact with open blisters.

A recent case of VS was confirmed in Southwest Texas on May 19.

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