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Laura

Critical Information Regarding the Horse Protection Act

By | Informational Articles and News

Critical Information Regarding the Horse Protection Act

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is proposing amendments to the horse protection regulations section of the Horse Protection Act. The proposed changes can be found at https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/newsroom/news/SA_By_Date/newsroom-2016/SA-07/hpa-changes . 

The Horse Protection Act covers all breeds, although violations have typically been associated with Tennessee Walking Horses and Racking Horses. The proposed changes are being evaluated by the VHC for impacts to Virginia horsemen and the horse industry in Virginia.

The Significant Changes and Impacts Identified Thus Far Include:

  • APHIS would assume responsibility for training, screening and licensing horse inspectors.  The new cadre of inspectors would be veterinarians and veterinary technicians… (emphasis added)
  • APHIS would ban the use of all action devices, pads, and foreign substances at horse shows, exhibitions, sales, and auctions, for Tennessee Walking Horses, Racking Horses or related breeds (emphasis added)
  • Additional costs to horse shows for additional inspectors, a farrier, and record keeping
  • An “Identification Card” will be required for all horses presented for inspection   

     

    Please Click Here for More Information!

FIFTH AND SIXTH CASES OF EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS IN VIRGINIA HORSES THIS YEAR

By | Informational Articles and News

OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS

Contact: Elaine Lidholm, www.vdacs.virginia.gov

Contact:  Elaine Lidholm, 804.786.7686

 

FIFTH AND SIXTH CASES OF EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS IN VIRGINIA HORSES THIS YEAR

 

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) today announced the fifth and sixth cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in horses this year. Both horses were from Suffolk, a male Paint and an Arabian filly. Both horses were euthanized. Neither had up-to-date vaccinations.

In the Tidewater area, veterinarians usually recommend a six-month vaccination interval because mosquitoes are present almost all year long, from early spring to late fall. Virginia had four earlier cases of EEE this year, two others from Suffolk, one from Chesapeake and one from Prince George County.

EEE is a mosquito-borne illness that causes inflammation or swelling of the brain and spinal cord and is also called “sleeping sickness.” Symptoms include impaired vision, aimless wandering, head pressing, circling, inability to swallow, irregular staggering gait, paralysis, convulsions and death. Once a horse has been bitten by an infected mosquito, it may take three to ten days for signs of the disease to appear.

“One of the reasons most veterinarians recommend a six-month vaccination schedule in Tidewater Virginia is because of the prevalence of mosquitos in the area,” said Dr. Charles Broaddus, State Veterinarian. “For the vaccine to be effective, it must be handled and administered properly and be given at least two weeks before the horse is exposed to the virus. Additionally, to stimulate full immunity, horses must be vaccinated twice, about 30 days apart, the first year of vaccination. The vaccines are effective for six to 12 months, so horses should be revaccinated at least annually. In addition to vaccination, horse owners should avoid mosquito infested areas and take measures to reduce the local mosquito population to minimize the chances of mosquitos biting people and their horses.

Last year, Virginia had three reported cases of EEE, one from Suffolk and two from Chesapeake. The disease has a high mortality rate, so prevention is a key part of equine health. Vaccination and mosquito control/avoidance are the central elements of prevention. Available vaccines are generally effective in drastically reducing the incidence of both EEE and West Nile Virus (WNV) in horses, and vaccinated horses that contract the virus are much more likely to survive than unvaccinated animals.

For more information, horse owners should contact VDACS’ Office of the State Veterinarian at 804.692.0601 or consult their local veterinarian.

 

Elaine J. Lidholm
Director of Communications
Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
102 Governor Street
Richmond VA 23219
804.786.7686

Third Case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis in a Virginia Horse This Year

By | Informational Articles and News

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) today announced the third case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in a Virginia horse this year. The horse, a mare from Chesapeake, contracted the disease one day and died the next. Vaccination history is unknown. All three horses have been from the Tidewater area.

 

Click here for more information or contact VDACS’ Office of the State Veterinarian at 804.692.0601.

 

 

Elaine J. Lidholm
Director of Communications
Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
102 Governor Street
Richmond VA 23219
804.786.7686

SECOND CASE OF EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS IN A VIRGINIA HORSE THIS YEAR

By | Informational Articles and News

OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS, Contact: Elaine Lidholm, www.vdacs.virginia.gov

FOR RELEASE:  July 12, 2016

Contact:  Elaine Lidholm, 804.786.7686

 

SECOND CASE OF EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS IN A VIRGINIA HORSE THIS YEAR

~ Disease has a 80 to 90 percent mortality so prevention is key ~

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) today announced the second case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in a Virginia horse this year. The horse, a thoroughbred, was from Suffolk. The horse had been vaccinated and is recovering. Without vaccination the mortality rate is 80 to 90 percent.

VDACS received confirmation of the diagnosis from the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa on July 8. Virginia also has had one other case of EEE this year, also from Suffolk. In this part of the state veterinarians usually recommend a six-month vaccination interval.

“One of the reasons most veterinarians recommend a six-month vaccination schedule in Tidewater Virginia is because of the prevalence of mosquitos in the area,” said Dr. Charles Broaddus, State Veterinarian. He explained that EEE, a mosquito-borne illness, causes inflammation or swelling of the brain and spinal cord and is also called “sleeping sickness.” Symptoms include impaired vision, aimless wandering, head pressing, circling, inability to swallow, irregular staggering gait, paralysis, convulsions and death. Once a horse has been bitten by an infected mosquito, it may take three to 10 days for signs of the disease to appear.

Last year Virginia had three reported cases of EEE, one from Suffolk and two from Chesapeake. The disease has a high mortality rate, so prevention is a key part of equine health. Vaccination and mosquito control/ avoidance are the central elements of prevention. Available vaccines are generally effective in drastically reducing the incidence of both EEE and West Nile Virus (WNV) in horses.

For the vaccine to be effective it must be handled and administered properly and be given at least two weeks before the horse is exposed to the virus. Additionally, to stimulate full immunity, horses must be vaccinated twice, about 30 days apart, the first year of vaccination. The vaccines are effective for six to 12 months, so horses should be revaccinated at least annually. In addition to vaccination, horse owners should avoid mosquito infested areas and take measures to reduce the local mosquito population to minimize the chances of mosquitos biting people and their horses.

For more information, horse owners should contact VDACS’ Office of the State Veterinarian at 804.692.0601 or consult their local veterinarian.

 

Elaine J. Lidholm
Director of Communications
Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
102 Governor Street
Richmond VA 23219
804.786.7686

FIRST CASE OF EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS IN A HORSE FOR 2016

By | Informational Articles and News

 

OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS, Contact: Elaine Lidholm, 804.786.7686, www.vdacs.virginia.gov
FOR RELEASE:  June 30, 2016
Contact:  Elaine Lidholm, 804.786.7686

 

FIRST CASE OF EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS IN A HORSE FOR 2016

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) has confirmed the first case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in a Virginia horse this year. The horse, from Suffolk, was a Saddlebred mare. She exhibited symptoms on June 22 and was euthanized June 23. Her vaccination record is unknown.

EEE causes inflammation or swelling of the brain and spinal cord. The disease is also called “sleeping sickness.” Symptoms include impaired vision, aimless wandering, head pressing, circling, inability to swallow, irregular staggering gait, paralysis, convulsions and death. Once a horse has been bitten by an infected mosquito, it may take three to 10 days for signs of the disease to appear.

Last year Virginia had three reported cases of EEE, one from Suffolk and two from Chesapeake. The disease has a mortality rate of 80 to 90 percent, so prevention is a key part of equine health. Vaccination and mosquito control and avoidance are the central elements of prevention.

In a press release dated March 22, 2016, VDACS encouraged horse owners to work with their veterinarians to plan a vaccination schedule that would protect their horses from EEE and West Nile Virus (WNV). Available vaccines are generally effective in drastically reducing the incidence of both EEE and WNV in horses. For the vaccine to be effective it must be handled and administered properly and be given at least two weeks before the horse is exposed to the virus. Additionally, to stimulate full immunity, horses must be vaccinated twice, about 30 days apart, the first year of vaccination. The vaccines are effective for six to 12 months, so horses should be revaccinated at least annually. In an area where the disease occurs frequently, such as southeast and Tidewater Virginia, most veterinarians recommend vaccination every six months.

In addition to vaccination, it is a good idea to avoid mosquito infested areas and to take measures to reduce the local mosquito population to minimize the chances of mosquitos biting horses or humans. A horse cannot transmit EEE to a person, but the presence of infected mosquitoes in an area poses a risk to both species. Wearing protective clothing, destroying standing water breeding sites and using mosquito repellents are effective strategies for mosquito control.

For more information, please contact VDACS’ Office of the State Veterinarian at 804.692.0601 or consult your local veterinarian.

 

Elaine J. Lidholm
Director of Communications
Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
102 Governor Street
Richmond VA 23219
804.786.7686

VIRGINIA HORSE TESTS POSITIVE FOR EQUINE HERPESVIRUS-1 IN FLORIDA

By | Informational Articles and News

On the evening of February 29, the State Veterinarian’s Office of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) was notified by the Florida State Veterinarian’s Office that a Virginia horse recently relocated to Martin County, Florida was confirmed with Equine Herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1). Clinical signs were consistent with Equine Herpesvirus Myeloencephalopathy (EHM). The infected (index) horse was placed in isolation early in the day and the Florida facility was placed under quarantine.

An investigation revealed that the index horse was shipped from a Thoroughbred training facility in Fauquier County, Virginia to Florida on February 22.  The Virginia training facility has been placed under quarantine by VDACS, and all exposed horses are being monitored twice daily for fever (temperature over 101.50 F) and other clinical signs. To date, no exposed horses in Virginia have shown clinical signs of disease or been febrile, but the monitoring will continue throughout the quarantine period. In addition to the horses exposed at the training facility, the investigation has revealed only one other exposed horse that traveled out of state.

The index horse traveled from Virginia to Florida with additional horses that off loaded in South Carolina. The South Carolina State Veterinarian was notified and has taken similar precautions for those exposed horses.

State animal health officials in Virginia and Florida will continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates as warranted.

Click here for more information on EHM, or contact VDACS’ Office of Veterinary Services at 804.786.2483.

Honorees to be inducted into Virginia Livestock Hall of Fame on Virginia Tech campus

By | Informational Articles and News

BLACKSBURG, Va., Oct. 8, 2015 – Five individuals will be inducted into the Virginia Livestock Hall of Fame for 2015 at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 24, at the College of Agriculture and Life Science’s Alphin-Stuart Livestock Arena on Virginia Tech’s campus. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.

For the list of honorees and more detailed information, please click on this link:

https://www.vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2015/10/100815-ext-livestockhalloffame.html

 

THIRD CASE OF EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS IN A VIRGINIA HORSE FOR 2015

By | Informational Articles and News

THIRD CASE OF EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS IN A VIRGINIA HORSE FOR 2015

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) today announced the third case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in a Virginia horse this year. The horse, a 19-week-old Racking filly, was from Chesapeake. Because of its young age, it had not been vaccinated yet. The horse was euthanized September 24 due to the severity of the illness.

All three cases of EEE this year have been in horses from Chesapeake. In mosquito-prone areas like this, most veterinarians recommend a six-month vaccination schedule to provide full protection from EEE, West Nile Virus (WNV) and other mosquito-borne illnesses.

Last year Virginia had one reported case of EEE, in a horse from Suffolk, and one of WNV. EEE has a mortality rate of 80 to 90 percent, so prevention is a key part of equine health. Vaccination and mosquito control/ avoidance are the central elements of prevention.

Horse owners will find more information on EEE at http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/animals/eee.shtml. Or they may contact VDACS’ Office of the State Veterinarian at 804.692.0601 or consult their local veterinarian.

 

Elaine Lidholm
Director of Communications
Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
102 Governor Street
Richmond VA 23219
804.786.7686

SECOND CASE OF EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS IN A VIRGINIA HORSE FOR 2015

By | Informational Articles and News

Contact: Elaine Lidholm, 804.786.7686

SECOND CASE OF EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS IN A VIRGINIA HORSE FOR 2015
~ Disease has a 90 percent mortality so prevention is key ~

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) today announced the second case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in a Virginia horse this year. The horse, a three-year-old Tennessee Walker mare, was from Chesapeake and had only been purchased by the owner three weeks ago. Its vaccination history is unknown.

The horse exhibited signs August 13 and was euthanized August 14 due to the severity of the illness. VDACS received confirmation from the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa on August 21. Both cases of EEE this year have been in horses from Chesapeake.

“One of the reasons most veterinarians recommend a six-month vaccination schedule in Tidewater Virginia is because of the prevalence of mosquitos in the area,” said Dr. Richard Wilkes, State Veterinarian. Wilkes explained that EEE, a mosquito-borne illness, causes inflammation or swelling of the brain and spinal cord and is also called “sleeping sickness.” Symptoms include impaired vision, aimless wandering, head pressing, circling, inability to swallow, irregular staggering gait, paralysis, convulsions and death. Once a horse has been bitten by an infected mosquito, it may take three to 10 days for signs of the disease to appear.

Last year Virginia had one reported case of EEE, in a horse from Suffolk. The disease has a mortality rate of 80 to 90 percent, so prevention is a key part of equine health. Vaccination and mosquito control/ avoidance are the central elements of prevention.

Available vaccines are generally effective in drastically reducing the incidence of both EEE and West Nile Virus (WNV) in horses. VDACS announced the first Virginia horse to test positive for WNV August 14.

For the vaccine to be effective it must be handled and administered properly and be given at least two weeks before the horse is exposed to the virus. Additionally, to stimulate full immunity, horses must be vaccinated twice, about 30 days apart, the first year of vaccination. The vaccines are effective for six to 12 months, so horses should be revaccinated at least annually. In addition to vaccination, horse owners should avoid mosquito infested areas and take measures to reduce the local mosquito population to minimize the chances of mosquitos biting their horses.

For more information, horse owners should contact VDACS’ Office of the State Veterinarian at 804.692.0601 or consult their local veterinarian.

Elaine Lidholm
Director of Communications
Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
102 Governor Street
Richmond VA 23219
804.786.7686

VIRGINIA HORSE TESTS POSITIVE FOR WEST NILE VIRUS

By | Informational Articles and News

The Orange County horse was not currently vaccinated against the disease.

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) today announced the state’s first positive case of West Nile Virus (WNV) in a horse in 2015. The horse, a five-year-old Choctaw mare, is from Orange County. The horse was not currently vaccinated for WNV. The onset of WNV symptoms started August 3, 2015. The horse was treated at an equine veterinary hospital in Charlottesville and discharged when its symptoms improved. Dr. Joe Garvin, head of VDACS’ Office of Laboratory Services, urges horse owners to check with their veterinarians about vaccinating their animals for WNV. “WNV is a mosquito-borne disease,” he said, “and we generally start seeing our first cases in August and September. The disease is preventable by vaccination, as is Eastern Equine Encephalitis, so many veterinarians recommend vaccination at least yearly, and in mosquito-prone areas, every six months.” He adds that mosquito season in Virginia can run through November.

The WNV vaccine for equines initially requires two doses administered three to six weeks apart. The vaccine takes four to six weeks from the second dose for optimal effectiveness. Horse owners should consult with their veterinarians to choose a re-vaccination schedule to protect their horses effectively. Prevention methods besides vaccination include destroying standing water breeding sites for mosquitoes, use of insect repellents and removing animals from mosquito-infested areas during peak biting times, usually dusk to dawn. Mosquitoes can transmit the virus from bird to bird. Occasionally a mosquito that has bitten an infected bird will then bite a human, horse or other mammal and transmit the virus to them. Transmission between horses and humans is extremely unlikely. Continuous, effective mosquito control can minimize the risk of exposure of both horses and humans to mosquito-borne diseases.

Currently, no drugs exist to treat WNV specifically in horses or humans. The mortality rate in equines with WNV is about 30 percent. Since there is no specific treatment for WNV, treatment consists of supportive therapy to maintain the animal’s hydration, and to prevent the animal from injuring itself throughout the two to three weeks of the disease. A veterinarian can prescribe treatment tailored to the particular case. Animal owners should consult their veterinarians if an animal exhibits any neurological symptoms such as a stumbling gait, going down, facial paralysis, drooping or disinterest in their surroundings. There are live-animal tests for WNV in horses and chickens, but none for other animals; however, testing can be done on any dead animal. If an animal owner suspects WNV symptoms, they should consult their veterinarians or the nearest VDACS Regional Animal Health Laboratory for advice and information.

The following websites provide more information on WNV and how to protect humans and horses:

Horses:
Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, West Nile Virus information page
U.S. Department of Agriculture, West Nile Virus information page

Humans:
Virginia Department of Health, West Nile Virus information
Centers for Disease Control, West Nile Virus information