A case of Equine Viral Arteritis (EVA) has been confirmed in a stallion in West Sussex.
Few details are known about the circumstances surrounding the positive test, which came to light on Wednesday (8 December).
But Defra said in a statement: “Breeding restrictions have been put in place on the infected stallion and investigations have begun to establish the likely origin of the infection, as well as any mares that may have been affected.
“The disease is being controlled in line with the industry agreed Horse Betting Levy Board (HBLB).”
EVA is a highly contagious, viral disease that can cause a high rate of abortion in pregnant mares and can be spread by either a stallion with infected semen or in the air via the respiratory secretions of a recently infected horse.
Signs of the disease include fever, conjunctivitis and swelling of the lower legs. There is currently no treatment available for the disease.
Find out more about Equine Viral Arteritis