June 22, 2009 — The Breeds & Industry Division of Equine Canada
would like to inform all stakeholders that due to the reported finding
of a horse infected with vesicular stomatitis (VS) in Texas, US, the
Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has asked the United States
Department of Agriculture (USDA) to suspend the issuance or endorsement
of export certificates for horses and other equines originating from
the state of Texas.
The imposed restrictions on the import of equidae
into Canada from Texas is effective immediately. The CFIA has confirmed
that the import restriction only applies to live horse, donkey or mule
imports and not to equine semen or equine embryo imports.
The USDA has also been asked to provide supplementary certification for
horses and other equines from other states as follows: “During the
previous twenty-one (21) days, the animal(s) in this shipment has/have
not been in the State of Texas.”
The Canadian Border Services Agency will ask all equine transporters crossing the border into Canada the following questions:
1. Do the horses originate from the state of Texas or have they been in that state within the past 21 days?
2. Have the horses transited the state of Texas en route to Canada?
If the horses originate or have been in the state of Texas within
the past 21 days, or have transited through that state, they will be
referred to the CFIA. CFIA will determine, based on document
verification and inspection, whether the horses should be allowed to
It is strongly recommended that horse owners refrain from travelling to
or transiting through Texas with their horses. It is important to note
for horse owners who still want to export their horses to Texas that
they CANNOT bring them back to Canada on the original Canadian export
certificate. Instead, it will be necessary that they move their horses
to a non-affected state to establish residency in that state for at
least 21 days prior to export to Canada. This means that the horses
will be returning to Canada on a U.S. health certificate that includes
the statement for non residency in Texas during the last 21 days prior
to export to Canada.
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)
Additional information will be provided as it becomes available on the Equine Canada website at equinecanada.ca
About Equine Canada Breeds & Industry Division
Equine Canada Breeds & Industry Division provides a structure for
the more than 40 breed organizations operating in Canada to unite as a
coalition under the national federation of Equine Canada. It provides a
forum from which to seek and exchange information between Equine
Canada, Canadian stakeholders, the Government of Canada and foreign
entities. The Breeds & Industry Division works to promote and
assist a vibrant equine industry and to affect policy in Canada. Breed
organizations and industry partners share resources and expertise with
unity of purpose to increase the long-term profitability of Canada's
equine sector and ensure its future viability. Visit equinecanada.ca
for complete information about the Equine Canada Breeds & Industry Division.
About Equine Canada
Equine Canada is a member-based association that represents, promotes
and services Canada's equine community and industry. Its core areas of
activity involve sport, equine health and welfare, education and
safety, governance and marketing, representation and communication.
Equine Canada is recognized by Sport Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food
Canada, the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), the Canadian
Olympic Committee and the Coaching Association of Canada as the
national organization representing equestrian sport and equine
interests in Canada. For more information about Equine Canada, please