Britain lifts EHV horse quarantine requirements

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The quarantine put in place by British Equestrian in March has been lifted.
The quarantine put in place by British Equestrian in March has been lifted. Image by Dsr40

British Equestrian has lifted its EHV-1 (equine herpesvirus) quarantine requirements, which means horses can return to Britain without the need to isolate.

The quarantine was put in place by British Showjumping, British Eventing and British Dressage after the virus was linked to competitions in the Iberian Peninsula in Spain in March. All horses linked to these shows will have completed the process early next week and none showed any clinical signs on EHV on returning home.

While there continue to be infrequent outbreaks of EHV-1 with both respiratory and neurological signs in Europe and the UK, British Equestrian’s Equine Infectious Disease Advisory Group (EIDAG) has concluded that the prevalence of EHV-associated disease has returned to its typical background level.

“Horses going to European competitions may be required by the FEI to have pre-event testing and, for longer competitions, screening will be continuing during the competition,” the BEF said.

“This, together with other biosecurity measures put in place by the FEI, gives confidence that quarantine is no longer needed. However, similar restrictions will be re-activated if there are further EHV outbreaks and our experience this spring suggests that this is an effective means to protect British horses. Yards are urged to operate under a strict biosecurity plan to preserve the health of their horses and minimise the spread of infection and disease.”

EIDAG chair Professor Celia Marr said the March outbreak was “an important wake-up call for us all”.

“Riders and owners should always be vigilant and take great care to monitor horses returning from competitions and introducing new horses to the yard, whether abroad or in the UK, because serious diseases like EHV and Strangles can spread anytime groups of horses mix,” she said.

“Stringent biosecurity practice should be a priority on all yards.”

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