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Informational Articles and News

Equine Education for Animal Control Officers and First Responders

By Informational Articles and News

The Virginia Horse Council and EQ-Knowlege Present:  Equine Education for Animal Control Officers and First Responders

 

 

The Virginia Horse Council is excited to announce an initiative to address the ongoing problem of the lack of information and education regarding equines in Virginia as pertains to emergencies, neglect and abuse cases, and seizures.  To remedy this, we spearheaded a task group of concerned equestrians, including the State Veterinarian’s office, the result of which is “EQ-Knowledge,” who has created a certified course, “Equine Education,” a hands-on based certification course for Animal Control Officers and First Responders.  The Commomwealth of Virginia is home to over 180,000 horses, mules, and donkeys.  Over 500 were seized or surrendered to Animal Control in 2018, and Large Animal Rescue happens frequently.  This 8 hour class provides hands-on horse handling and welfare assessment instruction for ACOs and other First Responders to increase awareness and skill working with these large animals. This course and certification is the first of it’s kind in Virginia and indeed, in the USA.

 

For and overview of the course, please click one of the links below:

Equine Education for ACOs and First Responders In PDF

Equine Education for ACOs and First Responders in PowerPoint

Watershed Implementation May Effect Horse Owners!

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Subject: Important meeting relevant to the equine committee

The Agricultural Best Management Practices Technical Advisory Committee of The Department of Conservation and Recreation will be meeting on July 9th at the Department of Forestry Building, 900 Natural Resource Drive, Charlottesville at 10:00 am.  One of the agenda items will be a presentation relating to local stocking rates for equines as they currently stand in Virginia and other states.  This subject is of particular interest to the equine community as we do not currently have a uniform stocking rate for the state.  Establishment of stocking rates can have a significant impact upon individual equine operations.   We urge members of the equine community to attend this meeting to hear the information presented.  For additional information see the attached fact sheet and infographic.

Info Graphic Sheet

The Commonwealth of Virginia Draft Chesapeake Bay TMLD Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan has been released

Virginia Horse Council joins the Virginia Trails Alliance

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Virginia Horse Council joins the Virginia Trails Alliance

Virginia Horse Council is one of a handful of organizations represented on the Virginia State Trails Advisory Committee (STAC), which was created through legislation in 2015. The committee, is comprised of recreational groups in addition to the staff from national, state, and regional organizations that are trail focused. The task of the Committee is addressed in the Code of Virginia https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/10.1-204.1/ and includes broad initiatives such as closing the gaps in a statewide trail system; encouraging private/public partnerships to leverage resources and fund development; integrated approaches to promoting and marketing trail values and benefits; strategies to encourage and create linkages between communities and open space; fostering communication and networking among trail stakeholders, etc.

The STAC has worked with the staff from the Department of Conservation and Recreation to address these concerns and provide annual reports to the General Assembly and advice on the Virginia Outdoors Plan. However, one of the limitations of the STAC is that it cannot perform any advocacy work to support its recommendations since it was created through legislation.

In November 2018, the non-agency members of the STAC agreed to form the Virginia Trails Alliance, for organizations with an interest in working together to promote trails in Virginia. The Virginia Trails Alliance was formed to be a champion for all trail systems. The formation of the Alliance does not end the work done by the STAC, but it should further enhance it. The founding organizations include:

 

  • Appalachian Trail Conservancy
  • Chesapeake Bay Commission
  • City of Richmond VA Parks and Recreation
  • East Coast Greenway Alliance
  • Expedition Outfitters
  • Great Eastern Trail Association
  • International Mountain Bike Association
  • James River Association
  • NOVA Parks
  • Richmond Cycling Corp
  • Roanoke Valley Greenway Commission
  • Southwest Regional Recreation Authority (SRRA) -Spearhead Trails
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Virginia Bicycling Federation
  • Virginia Capital Trail Foundation
  • Virginia Horse Council
  • Virginia Interactive
  • Virginia Outdoors Foundation (VOF)
  • Virginia Recreation and Park Society

The list of organizations signing on as participants continues to grow.

As a first step, the Alliance identified the following key initiatives and forwarded them to the current state administration with a request for funding in the pending budget:

 

  • State Trails Grant: Create a competitive state grant source to promote trail development across the Commonwealth. A grant program will bring together local and state partners to dream big and create amazing trail systems, leveraging local and federal funds (like Recreational Trails Program), with this new state grant source.
  • State Trails Conference: Host a state conference to focus on the development and promotion of trail systems in Virginia.
  • Additional State Staffing for Trails Coordination – Fund the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to fully support statewide trail coordination. Some of the trail planning is conducted through the Virginia Outdoors Plan. Additional staffing in this area will benefit trail projects all over the Commonwealth.
  • Signature Projects – There are trail systems in the planning and development stages in every region of the Commonwealth that could benefit from direct action and promotion by the administration. A few examples include the East Coast Greenway, which would be a trail connecting the eastern seaboard, running through Virginia along the north/south rail corridor, and the Beaches to Bluegrass Trail that would go from Virginia Beach to Cumberland Gap.

Partnership

Equestrian organizations that value healthy, vibrant trail systems are invited to join the Virginia Trails Alliance. Participation is voluntary, non-binding and free. As a partner you’ll receive alerts on issues and opportunities to collaboratively develop guidance, positions, and information that will impact the management and growth of Virginia’s trail system.

To join, please complete the contact form at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/VirginiaTrails.

The website http://www.virginiatrails.org/ is under construction and we welcome your suggestions for content.

You can contact the info@VirginiaTrails.org if you have any questions.

2nd Horse Tests Positive for EEE

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SECOND VIRGINIA HORSE TESTS POSITIVE FOR EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) today announced the second case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in a horse this year. The horse, an American Quarter Horse stabled in Chesapeake, was euthanized due to its illness, and was necropsied at the NCDACS’ Rollins VDL in Raleigh on August 20. Later lab results confirmed EEE. The disease has an 80 to 90 percent mortality rate.

The horse had an incomplete vaccination history. For full effectiveness, horses must be vaccinated initially with a follow-up booster, and then again every six to 12 months.

Sometimes called sleeping sickness, EEE is a mosquito-borne illness that causes inflammation or swelling of the brain and spinal cord. 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.

For more information on how to control mosquitoes around horses, see vdacs.virginia.gov/animals-eastern-equine-encephalitis.shtml. Horse owners may also contact VDACS’ Office of the State Veterinarian at 804.692.0601 or consult their local veterinarian.

Elaine Lidholm
Director of Communications
Va. Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services
102 Governor St.
Richmond VA 23219
804.786.7686

VA Horse Tests Positive for WNV

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VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND CONSUMER SERVICES OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS,
Contact: Elaine Lidholm, 804.786.7686, www.vdacs.virginia.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 15, 2018

Virginia Horse Tests Positive for West Nile Virus

~ Pony had not been vaccinated ~

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 this year. The nine-year-old pony mare from Fauquier County tested positive for WNV at VDACS’ regional animal health laboratory in Warrenton and a USDA lab in Iowa. The horse was not vaccinated for WNV and has recovered. Symptoms included loss of control of bodily movements and partial paralysis in the hind limbs, dazed appearance and lack of ability to stand.

Dr. Joe Garvin, head of VDACS’ Office of Laboratory Services, urges horse owners to check with their veterinarians about vaccinating their animals for WNV. “West Nile is a mosquito-borne disease,” he said, “and we generally start seeing our first cases in August and September. The disease is usually 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 complete vaccination requires an initial shot, followed by a booster. Full immunity takes about six weeks.

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. Continuous, effective mosquito control can minimize the risk of exposure of both horses and humans to mosquito-borne diseases. Equine 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.

These websites provide more information on WNV and how to protect humans and horses.

Elaine Lidholm
Director of Communications
Va. Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services
102 Governor St.
Richmond VA 23219
804.786.7686

EEE In Virginia Horses

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VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND CONSUMER SERVICES OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS,
Contact: Elaine Lidholm, www.vdacs.virginia.gov Ph. 804.786.7686
FOR RELEASE:  Aug. 10, 2018

Contact:  Elaine Lidholm,

 

IT’S AUGUST, TIME FOR EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS IN VIRGINIA HORSES

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) today announced the first case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in a horse this year. The horse, a Quarter Horse mare from Suffolk, entered the North Carolina State Veterinary school hospital in late July and subsequently died. The disease has an 80 to 90 percent mortality rate.

The hospital received notice yesterday of the EEE positive result. The horse was vaccinated incompletely with an initial vaccination but not the follow-up shot. For full effectiveness, horses must be vaccinated initially with a follow-up booster, and then again every six to 12 months.

Sometimes called sleeping sickness, EEE is a mosquito-borne illness that causes inflammation or swelling of the brain and spinal cord. 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.

For more information on how to control mosquitoes around horses, see vdacs.virginia.gov/animals- eastern-equine-encephalitis. shtml. Horse owners may also contact VDACS’ Office of the State Veterinarian at 804.692.0601 or consult their local veterinarian.

Elaine Lidholm
Director of Communications

Va. Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services
102 Governor St.
Richmond VA 23219
804.786.7686

Equine Infectious Anemia confirmed in Maryland

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Equine Infectious Anemia confirmed in Montgomery County

July 10, 2018

 

Farm Placed Under Investigational Hold Order

ANNAPOLIS, MD – A horse stabled in Montgomery County has tested positive for Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA). The positive horse was discovered during a routine wellness examination by a private veterinarian and was confirmed positive July 9 by the National Veterinary Services Lab in Ames, Iowa. The infected horse will be euthanized. EIA is not known to effect human health.

The State Veterinarian’s office has placed the farm under a 60-day investigational hold order. The department will do initial EIA tests on the remaining 42 equines on the farm. The animals will be tested again after 60 days, at which point the hold order will be released barring any positive test results.

Equine Infectious Anemia is a blood borne virus typically transferred by biting flies or infected needles. The infected horse did not display any clinical symptoms, but was determined to be in the carrier stage of the disease. Confirmed cases of EIA typically result in euthanasia or lifetime isolation for the infected horse.

The department’s Animal Health Program will continue to monitor the situation closely, and reminds all horse owners to remain vigilant in protecting the health of their animals—this includes routine disease testing. More information on EIA is available from USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

UPDATE to Confirmed cases of EHV-1

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OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS, Contact: Elaine Lidholm, 804.786.7686, www.vdacs.virginia.gov

For Immediate Release
March 1, 2018
No Additional Exposed Virginia Horses in Confirmed Equine Herpesvirus-1 Cases

~No Virginia horses have had any contact with either property, including trail riders~

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) has completed its epidemiological investigation after a diagnosis of Equine Herpesvirus Myeloencephalopathy (EHM) in two horses in central Virginia. As reported on February 28, 2018, the State Veterinarian’s Office at VDACS confirmed that two horses exhibiting neurological signs were euthanized and tested positive for Equine Herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1), the virus that causes EHM.

There is no link between the two horses and the timing of the EHM finding is coincidental. One horse was housed at the Hazelwild Equestrian Center in Fredericksburg and the second was located on a private farm in Powhatan County. Both facilities have been placed under quarantine. All exposed horses are being monitored twice daily for fever (temperature over 101.50 F) and other clinical signs.

No additional Virginia horses have been exposed. Several horses from Maryland visited the Hazelwild Equestrian Center last weekend for an Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) show; the farms in Maryland associated with these horses have been quarantined and all horses will be monitored. The immediate neighbor of the Powhatan County farm is voluntarily quarantining their horses due to casual contact. No Virginia horses have had any contact with either property, including trail riders.

There is no cause for alarm concerning the general horse population in Virginia. EHV-1 is a virus that is present in the environment and found in most horses all over the world. Horses typically are exposed to the virus at a young age with no serious side effects. A large percent of horses carry the virus with no clinical signs for the remainder of their lives. Rarely, exposed horses develop the neurologic form of the disease. Horse owners with concerns should contact their veterinarian.

The Equine Disease Communications Center Biosecurity web pages equinediseasecc.org/biosecurity have more information on best practices for disease prevention in horses and VDACS has more information on EHV-1 at vdacs.virginia.gov/animals-equine-herpes-virus.shtml. Horse owners also may contact VDACS’ Office of Veterinary Services at 804.786.2483.

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

New unrelated cases of EHV-1 detected in Virginia

By Informational Articles and News

OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS, Contact: Elaine Lidholm, 804.786.7686, www.vdacs.virginia.gov

For Immediate Release
Feb. 28, 2018

Virginia Horses Test Positive for Equine Herpesvirus-1

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) has confirmed a diagnosis of Equine Herpesvirus Myeloencephalopathy (EHM) in two horses in Virginia. On Tuesday, February 27, the State Veterinarian’s Office at VDACS confirmed that two horses exhibiting neurological signs tested positive for Equine Herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1), the virus that causes EHM. Both horses were euthanized.

There is no link between the two horses and the timing of the EHM finding is coincidental. One horse was housed at the Hazelwild Equestrian Center in Fredericksburg and the second was located on a private farm in Powhatan County. Both facilities have been placed under quarantine. All exposed horses are being monitored twice daily for fever (temperature over 101.50 F) and other clinical signs, and VDACS is working with the facility owners to determine if any exposed horses have left the premises. Owners of exposed horses will be notified and are advised to isolate and observe their horses closely for signs of the disease.

There is no cause for alarm concerning the general horse population in Virginia. EHV-1 is a virus that is present in the environment and found in most horses all over the world. Horses typically are exposed to the virus at a young age with no serious side effects. A large percent of horses carry the virus with no clinical signs for the remainder of their lives. Rarely, exposed horses develop the neurologic form of the disease. Horse owners with concerns should contact their veterinarian.

The Equine Disease Communications Center Biosecurity web pages equinediseasecc.org/biosecurity have more information on best practices for disease prevention in horses and VDACS has more information on EHV-1 at vdacs.virginia.gov/animals-equine-herpes-virus.shtml. Horse owners also may contact VDACS’ Office of Veterinary Services at 804.786.2483.

 

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

2nd Horse in Central VA Facility Tests Positive for EHV-1 

By Informational Articles and News

OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS,
Contact: Elaine Lidholm, 804.786.7686, www.vdacs.virginia.gov

 

For Immediate Release

Feb. 6, 2018

Update: Second Horse in Central Virginia Facility Tests Positive for Equine Herpesvirus-1 

 The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) has confirmed a second diagnosis of Equine Herpesvirus Myeloencephalopathy (EHM) at the affected farm in central Virginia. On February 1, 2018, a horse-boarding stable in Chesterfield County was placed under quarantine after a horse with fever and neurologic signs tested positive to the equine herpes virus-1 (EHV), the virus that causes EHM.

Since that time, nine horses in the stable have developed fevers, but none exhibited neurologic signs. Veterinarians tested three of these horses for EHV and one tested positive. Testing for the remainder of the febrile horses will continue over the next several days. The facility will remain under quarantine for 21 days past the last positive finding of EHV.

The febrile horses, which are horses with fever, have been isolated on the farm and are under veterinary care. The stable transferred four of these horses to the isolation unit at Marion Dupont Scott Equine Medical Center in Leesburg for additional care and monitoring. Because these horses were admitted under the established isolation protocol, the Equine Medical Center is not under quarantine and is admitting and treating patients normally. Neither the Chesterfield stable nor the equine medical facility poses a risk to the Virginia horse population.

Generally, VDACS advises horse owners to develop biosecurity protocols with their veterinarian for any horses that enter or travel from another farm. Such practices should include isolating returning or new horses from resident horse populations for 14-21 days. Isolated horses should have temperatures taken twice daily. Contact your veterinarian if any horse has a temperature over 101.50 F.

Additional information on biosecurity protocols is available at The Equine Disease Communications Center Biosecurity web pages equinediseasecc.org/biosecurity

Elaine J. Lidholm

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

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