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Canadian Import Restrictions Reduced for Horses from Texas and New Mexico
Ottawa, ON, Canada


Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has eliminated import restrictions for horses from Texas and reduced import restriction for horses New Mexico that are entering Canada as a result of additional information it received from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) regarding the recent cases of vesicular stomatitis (VS) reported in these states.

Be advised that Texas is now free again from VS. As a result, CFIA has removed all VS related import restrictions for horses from the state of Texas with the exception of the certification requirement that the horses have not been during the past 21 days in the State of New Mexico.

In addition, import permits will now be issued for all horses from non-infected counties in New Mexico. Horses from infected counties in New Mexico will not be eligible.

The horse(s) must be certified for VS as follows

  • The horses must be inspected within 10 days prior to export.
  • The animal is free from clinical signs of VS.
  • The animal has not been on a premises in an infected county or travelled through an infected county within the 21 days prior to export.
  • The premises of origin is located at least 25 kilometres (15 miles) from any premises currently under quarantine for VS.
  • The animal is negative to a C-ELISA test taken within 10 days of export. If an animal tests positive to the C-ELISA test, it must be re-tested with the CF test conducted on the same sample. If negative, the animal will be eligible for export.
  • Current import requirements for equidae entering Canada may be found using the CFIA Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) at http://airs-sari.inspection.gc.ca. To determine specific import requirements for each horse, specific parameters that refer to each horse's circumstances will need to be entered and customized import requirements will be provided.

Vesicular stomatitis is a disease that primarily affects cattle, horses and swine, and occasionally sheep and goats. Humans can be exposed to the virus when handling affected animals but rarely become infected. Vesicular stomatitis causes blister-like lesions in the mouth and on the dental pad, tongue, lips, nostrils, hooves, and teats. These blisters swell and break, leaving raw tissue that is so painful that infected animals show signs of lameness and generally refuse to eat and drink which results in severe weight loss. There is risk of secondary infection of the open wounds. Animals usually recover within 2 weeks. While vesicular stomatitis can cause economic losses to livestock producers, it is a particularly important disease because its outward signs are similar to-although generally less severe than-those of foot-and-mouth disease, which horses are not susceptible to. The only way to distinguish among these diseases in livestock other than horses is through laboratory tests.

The mechanisms by which vesicular stomatitis spreads are not fully known; insect vectors, mechanical transmission, and movement of animals are probably responsible. Once introduced into a herd, the disease apparently moves from animal to animal by contact or exposure to saliva or fluid from ruptured lesions. Historically, outbreaks of vesicular stomatitis have occurred in southwestern United States during warm months and particularly along river ways. However, outbreaks are sporadic and unpredictable. (Source: USDA)


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