The EHV-1 situation in Alberta and Western Canada was discussed on a conference call this morning. Participants of the conference call included the Chief Provincial Veterinarian, members of Alberta Veterinary Medical Association, faculty from the University of Calgary Veterinary Medicine and local equine practitioners. In addition, veterinarians from British Columbia and Saskatchewan were also in attendance.
To date the reported positive cases of nEHV-1 in Alberta are as follows:
One neurological case (now recovered) first found positive at the start of May
Three cases positive with mild respiratory signs/fever are all now recovered
Four PCR positive horses, showing no clinical signs
One new neurological case, responding well to treatment, that attended cutting events in Alberta
One of the previously ‘suspect’ neurological cases in Northern Alberta that was at the cutting competition in Lloydminster (reported in last update).
To date suspect cases of nEHV-1 in Alberta are as follows:
One previously reported neurologic case. The mild neurological signs are almost resolved and the horse remains under quarantine. To date testing has been negative.
The second suspect with mild neurological signs in Northern Alberta that was at the cutting competition in Lloydminster (reported in last update) still remains in the suspect list.
New neurological suspect case from Central Alberta was euthanized due in part to complications with previous significant medical conditions. Testing is pending.
New neurological suspect case with mild fever from Central Alberta. Testing is pending.
The update in Saskatchewan, from the Prairie Diagnostic Services laboratory, indicated a single confirmed case that was present at the Lloydminster competition. Previously reported cases in February 2011, from this laboratory, are not considered part of the current EHV-1 outbreak.
The update in British Columbia, from the Animal Health Centre laboratory (Ministry of Agriculture), indicated two positive nEHV-1 cases confirmed through the laboratory. These cases had either direct or indirect contact with horses that were at the Ogden, Utah competition.
It appears all of the cases and suspected cases remain in horses associated with the cutting horse industry.
All other disciplines outside of the cutting industry continue at this time to be considered low risk. The decision to cancel competitions and shows in other disciplines should be made in partnership with their associated veterinarian to develop a risk assessment of each situation. Any time we travel to a competition where there is mixing of horses from many locations there is a low risk of transmitting infectious diseases. Biosecurity measures should be followed. Excellent resources on biosecurity protocols for the equine community can be found on the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association website and the Alberta Equestrian Federation website.
The next conference call is scheduled for Wednesday June 8th, 2011. If any local veterinarians would like to participate they can contact the office of the Chief Provincial Veterinarian for further information.
As always we will continue to update our information as it becomes available.
~ Greg Andrews, DVM, Moore Equine Veterinary Centre Ltd.
Ashley Whitehead, DVM, BSc, DVSc, University of Calgary Veterinary Medicine