Interstate Travel: Should Your Horse Have an Equine Interstate Event Permit?

horse in trailer by Victoria Pickering

Interstate horse transport is being facilitated in some states by the Equine Interstate Event Permit. Virginia is the latest state to adopt the six-month equivalent of a passport for horses. Photo by Victoria Pickering.

Are you hitting the road soon, but unsure of how interstate health regulations affect your horse on (and off) the highway? If you live in any of 14 cooperating and connecting states, your travel plans have been simplified by a  cooperative plan that now will reach as far north as New York, as far south as Florida and as far west as Texas and Oklahoma.

According to Dr. Richard Wilkes, State Veterinarian with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), Virginia horse owners are the latest to have a new opportunity to travel with their horses throughout the southeastern United States for six months using the new Equine Interstate Event Permit (EIEP).

Effective immediately, horse owners may elect to obtain the six-month passport in lieu of a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection that is only good for 30 days.

“Horse owners have asked for this interstate event permit option for some time,” said Dr. Wilkes, “but we had to ensure that we could provide the convenience of a six-month passport while continuing to protect Virginia’s equine industry from disease. We have developed the database and record-keeping system and have a Memorandum of Agreement with 14 states that allow us to move forward with issuing the permit.”

Participating states include Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. According to Virginia authorities, the state of New York just recently announced that it will also accept the six-month permit, although the New York state government does not .

Horse owners may apply to obtain an Equine Interstate Event Permit from their accredited veterinarian. For each horse permitted, the owner must fill out and sign an application, present a Virginia origin Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI) or health paper/certificate, have a valid negative Coggins test, and be able to document microchip identification or provide three view digital photos of the animal.

Owners also will need to demonstrate their ability to perform an abbreviated physical exam that includes taking each horse’s temperature. They will need to record that information on the horse’s travel itinerary with each interstate movement.

For more information about the Virginia equine passport application process, horse owners or veterinarians should contact VDACS’ Office of Veterinary Services at 804.786.2483. Horse owners and veterinarians may find additional information on the VDACS website, or in the state where live or visit.

jumping-foal-713469 by Fran Jurga
© The Jurga Report at 

Be friends with Fran Jurga on  

Equine Influenza in France Linked to Unvaccinated Ponies at International Sale in Ireland

Clifden Connemara Sale

Irish horse dealers have traditionally showcased their sale stock at horse shows and sales. This photo from 1975 shows Connemara ponies at Clifden,where a sale is still held. (Sean Hickln photo)

Could there be anything more delightful in the horse world than a bustling Irish horse sale, with hundreds of robust Connemara ponies primped and pampered for sale by their market-conscious owners? An Irish horse sale should be one of those “must see” items on your equestrian life list.

On the other hand, is there anything more distressing than seeing a sick horse, and knowing it suffers from a contagious disease?

Taking care of a horse that has contracted a contagious disease is one of those “things to avoid” on another of your equestrian life lists. Being tangled up in a quarantine is close behind it on the list.

Government agencies in many countries around the world keeps tabs on outbreaks of contagious diseases in both humans and animals; they monitor the spread of a disease, and try to locate the source. The idea is to prevent disease, when possible, by vaccination and to prevent spread of any outbreaks by containing horses and limiting their movement.

An outbreak of a disease that can be traced to the international transport of horses is the least desirable scenario. And that’s what happened last week in France.

Connemara phonies

Connemara ponies are at home on the rough landscape of western Ireland but the breed is renowned for its character and athletic adaptability for jumping, driving and eventing. (RJ Maris photo)

France had two outbreaks of equine influenza in October, and a third was announced today. They occurred in separate parts of France but in all three outbreaks, the disease was first identified in Connemara ponies that had recently been imported from Ireland.

Unfortunately, the ponies had been acquired at the same sale, which means that there may have been other infected horses on the premises, and that those horses could have been transported almost anywhere in the world.

The first outbreak was reported at a riding center in the Seine-et-Marne region, just east of Paris. The affected horse was a five-year-old unvaccinated Connemara mare that showed clinical signs of a cough, fever and nasal discharge. A positive diagnosis was made and five other horses at the center have already been affected.

The second case was in Finistère, part of the region of Brittany. It is a peninsula jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean, and is the westernmost land in France. The affected horse was an unvaccinated five-year-old Connemara pony that also showed clinical signs of a cough, fever and nasal discharge. A positive diagnosis of equine influenza resulted; six other horses at the facility have been affected, according to the French government agency RESPE.

The two outbreaks have been epidemiologically linked as both ponies were bought from the same sale in Ireland.

The French government announced a third outbreak today, in the province of Mayenne in northwest France. Once again, the initial case was an unvaccinated pony imported from the Connemara sale in Ireland. Ten horses on that farm are affected so far.

Equine Influenza is highly contagious and can wreak havoc on a horse farm, riding stable, training center or event facility. An outbreak in Australia, which had been free of the disease, completely shut down the breeding and show scenes there in 2007; the country is still recovering.

Connemara pony

Two outbreaks of equine influenza in France are believed to be traced through recently imported Connemara ponies from Ireland. Since the horses were sold at a large sale, other sick horses may have been sold as well. (Hannah Keogh photo)

Organizers of the 2012 Olympics were dreading an outbreak of any sort of infectious disease in the months preceding the Games. An outbreak of equine influenza between May and July in France affected the conduct of the world’s highest level of international show jumping.

Dr. Graeme Cook, FEI Veterinary Director, had to explain that horses that had shipped to La Baule from a show at Le Touquet would be stabled in a separate complex from the main group of horses. The World Organisation of Animal Health (OIE), became involved, and was communicating with the various chefs d’equipe for nations competing at La Baule.

Horses were tested for Equine Influenza at La Baule and, sure enough, three tested positive for the disease. However, they showed no symptoms, another frustrating aspect of equine influenza and some other contagious diseases. The horses were removed from the showground along with some horses that had been handled by the same grooms, and the show–including a CSI 5* Grand Prix and FEI Nations Cup–went on.

You could almost hear the FEI’s leaders counting off the weeks until London.

Meanwhile, in England, an all-out assault on equine influenza was launched. The Animal Health Trust’s Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance team worked with British equine veterinarians to offer free screenings for Equine Influenza for horses in which EI was suspected and from horses that had been in contact with competition horses that had been competing abroad.

To make matters more complicated, all nations–just like all states in the USA–have separate veterinary policies. In some countries, Equine Influenza, Equine Herpes Virus and even Equine Infectious Anemia are not strictly reported to government officials.

Horses have never traveled further, faster, or more easily. But the more they travel, the more we realize that the world is not a uniform place. Infectious diseases are a fascinating and dangerious x factor in our wide world of horse sports, breeding and recreation.

To learn more:

Réseau d’Epidémio-Surveillance en Pathologie Equine (French government agency for horse health)

Animal Health Trust EquiFluNet

jumping-foal-713469 by Fran Jurga
© The Jurga Report at 

Be friends with Fran Jurga on  

Colorado Equine Herpes Virus Update

horse jumping III

Equine transport into and out of Colorado should not be affected by a recent case of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) in the state, according to a statement on Friday. Normal regulations will still apply, however. Photo by Jan Glas.

On May 14, The Jurga Report shared a warning from the Colorado Department of Agriculture about a confirmed diagnosis of Equine Herpes Virus in a horse that had been recently moved to the state from Iowa. On Friday, the agency issued an update, which should be good news to everyone; it is reproduced here as provided:Colorado Department of Agriculture logo

The Colorado Department of Agriculture is continuing to investigate and monitor horses exposed to one horse with a confirmed case of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) within the state.

The isolated horses are still being monitored and are not showing any clinical signs of EHV-1. No new cases of illness have been diagnosed and all the horses remain free of clinical signs.

The State Veterinarian is not recommending any movement or event restrictions. Horses entering Colorado will simply need a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection and a Negative EIA test within the last 12 months.

jumping-foal-713469 by Fran Jurga
© The Jurga Report at 

Be friends with Fran Jurga on  

EHV-1 Alert: Neurological Equine Herpes Virus Confirmed in Colorado Horse Transported from Iowa

Horse Health Alert The Jurga Report Equisearch

Please read the following notice from the State Veterinarian’s office in Colorado, where a horse was euthanized last week and found to be the latest victim of highly contagious EHV-1 in the United States. As always, The Jurga Report will attempt to keep you up to date on these important notices.

The Colorado Department of Agriculture is investigating a confirmed case of Equine Herpesvirus (EHV-1) within the state; a quarantine has been placed on a Douglas County premises.

The horse was transported from Iowa by a private owner and was euthanized after showing severe neurological signs associated with the disease.

There are three other facilities in Colorado that received horses from the same transport company.  Those horses are isolated and are being closely monitored for any clinical signs of EHV.

Unlike the EHV-1 outbreak in 2011, this case is not associated with any equine show or event.  To date, no other horses have become ill with similar signs.  With the exception of the index and direct contact horses’ premises, the state veterinarian is not recommending movement or event restrictions.

Colorado Department of Agriculture logo“The Department is taking quick and appropriate actions to control and mitigate this disease,” said State Veterinarian, Dr. Keith Roehr. “We will continue to trace the movement of this horse and those horses it came into contact with in order to protect Colorado’s equine industry.”

EHV-1 is not transmissible to people; it can be a serious disease of horses that can cause respiratory, neurologic disease and death. The most common way for EHV-1 to spread is by direct horse-to-horse contact. The virus can also spread through the air, contaminated equipment, clothing and hands.

Symptoms include fever, decreased coordination, nasal discharge, urine dribbling, loss of tail tone, hind limb weakness, leaning against a wall or fence to maintain balance, lethargy, and the inability to rise. While there is no cure, the symptoms of the disease may be treatable.

This news was reported over the weekend on the Facebook page for this blog, pending official confirmation from the state. Did you know you can “like” Fran Jurga’s Facebook news page?

jumping-foal-713469 by Fran Jurga
© The Jurga Report at 

Be friends with Fran Jurga on  

Eventer Pippa Funnell on Transport of Horses to Slaughter in Europe: “It Has Got to Stop”

YouTube Preview Image

Here’s something you probably didn’t know about British Olympic eventer Pippa Funnell. Yes, she won the Grand Slam of Eventing–Badminton, Burghley and Rolex Kentucky in succession. But did you know that she is a trustee of World Horse Welfare?

And that one of the campaigns near and dear to her heart is to improve and even end the transport of horses to slaughter in Europe?

At last month’s international conference of World Horse Welfare, Pippa was on stage when the audience took its turn asking questions of the speakers. One question was headed Pippa’s way–how does one compare the circumstances of transporting elite sport horses to competitions with the plight of slaughter-bound horses?

pippa funnell eventing dressage

Pippa Funnell riding in the dressage phase at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials. Pippa has been a trustee of World Horse Welfare since 2008; she also is the author of more than a dozen horse books for children which all have horse welfare themes. (World Horse Welfare photo)

Pippa’s answer followed the party line of World Horse Welfare, but she brought up an excellent point. Our show, sport and race horses are completely accustomed to transport. They take it in stride. But farm-raised horses in Poland and Romania have never been on a truck in their lives. For almost all of them, their first trip is also their last. Not only is the trip endlessly long and uncomfortable, but there is the stress of loading and the prolonged stress of not being accustomed to the motion of the vehicle and the need to keep one’s balance.

There are many different issues and regulations in Europe for horse transport to slaughter, and it is more regulated that it is here, but it doesn’t seem that way to the people in Europe trying to improve or stop transport.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: We should be paying attention to horse transport to slaughter issues in Europe.

Badminton Horse Trials

Princess Anne and Pippa Funnell have a lot in common: they both have won the Burghley 4* Horse Trials. Here's Princess Anne at Badminton in 1973. She did it on a horse she bred, raised and trained. (British Monarchy photo)

And someone should bring Pippa over to see how things are done here–a night at Camelot Weekly in New Jersey to see the up side of things, a day at New Holland, wherever–and ask her to talk about the differences and similarities she sees. And Princess Anne, as president of World Horse Welfare, is an ace in the hole for reformists here in the United States.

The last time I checked, the USA was still part of the world. While she might not be willing to comment on what goes on in the USA without first-hand knowledge, she does speak about horse transport to slaughter in general terms. And when she speaks, a lot of people are willing to listen.

Please notice that they very carefully do not call for an end to horse slaughter, but rather a switch to the transport of refrigerated horse carcasses to the processing plants instead of live horses. Pippa notes that the slaughter-bound trucks full of horses from eastern Europe drive right past local slaughterhouses that could process the horses. Italian butchers pay the best price, however, so over the roads they go.

The latest opportunity for transport-to-slaughter regulation changes in Europe was in October; recommendations from the World Horse Welfare dossier were not approved. Despite this setback, the WHW campaigns for public awareness of the welfare problems inherent to the trade continue.

jumping-foal-713469 by Fran Jurga
© The Jurga Report at 

Be friends with Fran Jurga on