Hold Order Lifted at Maryland Horse Facility

On Saturday, June 11, at 3:30 p.m. the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) lifted the "Animal Hold Order" at the Columbia, Md. horse facility that has been handling a neurologic equine herpesvirus situation since late March. The lifting of the hold order allows the facility to resume normal business operations.

"The farm managers, private veterinarians, horse owners and all other parties involved have done everything properly and with the utmost professionalism to bring a long and trying situation to closure," said James I. Fearer, DVM, acting Maryland state veterinarian. "We are very pleased to say that the facility can return to business as usual. Horse owners from the Columbia facility may now freely transport their animals to and from events, competitions, and other facilities without concern about presenting the virus to any other horses or farms."

The MDA placed a "hold order" on the facility on Friday, March 25 after three horses were euthanatized for what was later diagnosed as equine herpesvirus (EHV-1). Even before that time, facility managers began taking proactive preventative measures. Despite taking every precaution necessary in full cooperation with private veterinarians, state animal health professionals, and facility management, a total of six horses had to be euthanatized. The last clinical case appeared on May 10.

Accepted veterinary protocol calls for restricting the movement of horses for 21-days after the last clinical outbreak of EHV-1. As extra assurance in preventing additional cases in any EHV-1 situation, the state requires a 30-day "hold order," which was released on June 11.

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