Future communications are forthcoming regarding EC’s plans to ensure a safe start to the competition season for both human and equine athletes. Meanwhile, EC urges everyone to exercise extreme caution regarding the movement of equines.

What is EHV-1?

EHV-1 is a common DNA virus that causes abortion, respiratory disease and neurological disease in equines. More information on EHV-1 can be found through the American Association of Equine Practitioners and Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

What is the status of the outbreak?

The current neurological strain of EHV-1 appears to be extremely aggressive and infectious.

Several cases have been confirmed in the United States, as well as at equestrian facilities in Ontario and Quebec. To review disease alerts from across North America, visit the Equine Disease Communication Centre and Canadian Health Surveillance System. To receive EC notices of confirmed cases of reportable/notifiable diseases in Canada, subscribe here by selecting “Health Alerts”.

The Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI) has cancelled international events in 10 countries on the European mainland due to a similar but unrelated neurological strain of EHV-1 that originated in Valencia, ESP. Updates from the FEI Veterinary Department can be found here.

What can I do to prevent EHV-1?

In order to best protect your equine(s) and the national herd from EHV-1, please:

  • Familiarize yourself with the CFIA National Farm and Facility Level Biosecurity Standard for the Equine Sector and watch the EC Owners and Facility Operators Biosecurity Webinar.
  • Consult your veterinarian on appropriate vaccination practices and sanitizing solutions.
  • Ensure you are prepared with the appropriated resources to respond to a disease outbreak based on your individual facility management system.
  • Create and implement an isolation plan for new/returning equines to your facility to ensure all equines within the facility are protected for the duration of incubation periods. Creating “bubbles” based on commonalities within your facility can help control and prevent further spread in the instance of a positive case entering your facility.
  • Print and hang the following posters in your equestrian facility or on your stall at a competition:
  • Take temperatures of exposed horses twice daily, maintain a log and isolate any equines with a fever of approximately 101.5-102.5˚ F.
  • Develop and implement an emergency response plan for any equine experiencing symptoms or illness, which includes immediate isolation and contacting a veterinarian.
  • Avoid areas of co-mingling when travelling or attending competitions and ensure physical distancing from people and equines outside of your facility/barn/stable “bubble”.
  • Do not share equipment between equines or equine “bubbles” and eliminate communal or shared water troughs or feed buckets.
  • Do not allow nose-to-nose contact and practice physical distancing between equines.
  • Practice good hygiene when moving between barns such has handwashing, clothing changes, etc.
  • Equine handlers should wash hands in between handling equines and implement and maintain proper biosecurity measures.

Join the EC National Equine Disease and Welfare Surveillance Call

The next EC National Equine Disease and Welfare Surveillance Call is coming up on March 10, 2021, at 12 p.m. ET.

Dr. Amy Greer of the Ontario Veterinary College will discuss how EC competitions, horses and venues within Ontario are connected and the implications of these network structures for risk of equine disease introduction and spread. She will be joined by Dr. Alison Moore of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food.

More details and call information can be found here.


For additional information regarding equine health and welfare, including additional biosecurity information and resources, visit www.equestrian.ca/industry/health.

For questions regarding the current EHV-1 outbreaks, contact:

Kristy Laroche
Director, Active Equine Industry and Development
1-866-282-8395 x 130

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