Vesicular Stomatitis in New Mexico

Canada is currently free of vesicular stomatitis. It was last diagnosed in Canada in 1949. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has notified Equine Canada it is taking the following immediate action to safeguard the Canadian herd: 
  • The importation of horses from the State of New Mexico will be prohibited (except for Canadian horses returning from New Mexico, please see below) until further notice.
  • For horses coming from the United States, from all other states, the following requirement, which will need to be certified by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), applies:

During the previous twenty-one (21) days, the animal(s) in this shipment has/have not been in the state of New Mexico.

  • For Canadian horses going to and returning from the United States:

Horses coming from New Mexico already need an import permit due to piroplasmosis concerns and clients therefore cannot bring their horses back to Canada from New Mexico on the original Canadian export certificate.

Instead, it is necessary that they bring their animals back to Canada with an import permit and a USDA health certificate containing *supplementary certification.


Move their horses to **alternate states and establish residency in that state for at least 21 days prior to export to Canada. In that case, the horses will be returning to Canada on a USDA health certificate that includes a statement for non-residency in New Mexico during the last 21 days prior to export to Canada (i.e. During the previous twenty-one (21) days, the animal(s) in this shipment has/have not been in the state of New Mexico).

*Supplementary certification:

  • The horse(s) were inspected by a veterinarian within fifteen (15) days preceding the date of importation.
  • The horse(s) have not been on a premise(s) where Vesicular Stomatitis (clinical or serological) has occurred during the 60 days immediately preceding exportation to Canada, nor has this disease occurred on any adjoining premises during the same period of time.
  • The horses must have tested negative to Vesicular Stomatitis using a cELISA test, during the fifteen (15) days prior to the date of importation into Canada.

**Various US states may also prohibit movement into state without permit/certification/testing/post-entry testing. The Canadian horse owner should check state requirements before movement.

  • The import restrictions only apply to live horse, donkey or mule imports and not to equine semen or equine embryo imports.

Please note—Equine piroplasmosis related import restrictions on Texas and New Mexico for live horses are still applicable.

Import conditions in the CFIA Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) will be adjusted accordingly at AIRS allows for a search of applicable import requirements, specific to each horse’s circumstances. It is strongly recommended that horse owners refrain from travelling to or transiting through New Mexico with their horses.

Vesicular stomatitis is a disease that primarily affects cattle, horses and swine, and occasionally sheep and goats. Humans can be exposed to the virus when handling affected animals but rarely become infected. Vesicular stomatitis causes blister-like lesions in the mouth and on the dental pad, tongue, lips, nostrils, hooves, and teats. These blisters swell and break, leaving raw tissue that is so painful that infected animals show signs of lameness and generally refuse to eat and drink which results in severe weight loss. There is risk of secondary infection of the open wounds. Animals usually recover within 2 weeks. While vesicular stomatitis can cause economic losses to livestock producers, it is a particularly important disease because its outward signs are similar to—although generally less severe than—those of foot-and-mouth disease, which horses are not susceptible to. The only way to distinguish among these diseases in livestock other than horses is through laboratory tests.The mechanisms by which vesicular stomatitis spreads are not fully known:  insect vectors, mechanical transmission, and movement of animals are probably responsible. Once introduced into a herd, the disease apparently moves from animal to animal by contact or exposure to saliva or fluid from ruptured lesions. Historically, outbreaks of vesicular stomatitis have occurred in southwestern United States during warm months and particularly along river ways. However, outbreaks are sporadic and unpredictable.

(Source: USDA)


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