Ireland Officials Issue EVA Alert

Ireland's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) issued advice on April 5 to horse breeders because of concerns over the perceived risk increase for equine viral arteritis (EVA).

Tests on horses from two Irish studs have shown evidence of exposure to the disease, and the positive test results are believed to be linked to a previously reported outbreak of EVA at an Irish stud in 2003 (an unvaccinated stallion tested seropositive for EVA during 2003).

EVA is an acute, contagious, viral equine disease that can cause fever, respiratory illness, ocular inflammation, edema (swelling), weakness or sickness in foals, and abortion. It can be transmitted through respiratory or venereal routes. It occurs worldwide and is present in Great Britain, the United States, and every mainland European country.

Mares shipped from Ireland to Britain are being tested for EVA. This practice has been routine in recent years for mares visiting Britain from the rest of Europe. British stallions are vaccinated twice a year against EVA, a practice that has been resumed following an interruption in the supply of vaccine early last year.

The DARD has asked horse owners to comply with the voluntary Code of Practice on EVA, which provides a sound framework for prevention of the disease. It recommended that all breeders (Thoroughbred and non-Thoroughbred) verify that no animals on their farms are infected before the start of the breeding season.

It was suggested that veterinary advice should be taken on the incidence of EVA in an exporting country, and the importer should take precautions if the horse is imported from a country where EVA is known or suspected to occur. These precautions include ensuring that a horse tests negative for EVA before leaving the country of origin; quarantining the animal for at least 21 days after arrival, during which time they are tested for antibodies to equine arteritis virus; and if importing semen for artificial insemination, checking on the EVA status of a donor stallion during the time of semen collection.--Stephanie L. Church and Mark Popham

About the Author

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief, received a B.A. in Journalism and Equestrian Studies from Averett College in Danville, Virginia. A Pony Club and 4-H graduate, her background is in eventing, and she is schooling her recently retired Thoroughbred racehorse, Happy, toward a career in that discipline. She also enjoys traveling, photography, cycling, and cooking in her free time.

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