Quarantine restrictions put in place as a result of EHV-1 outbreaks on the European mainland have been lifted for horses returning to the UK.
A quarantine process was put in place by British Showjumping, British Dressage and British Eventing in March after cases of EHV-1 in other European countries were linked to competitions in the Iberian Peninsula in March.
This was to contain any spread of the disease to Britain. All horses linked to these shows will have completed the quarantine process by early next week and British Equestrian (BEF) has reported that none showed any clinical signs of the disease on returning home.
“The EHV situation in March was an important wake-up call for us all,” said Professor Celia Marr, chairman of the BEF’s equine infectious disease advisory group.
“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 any time groups of horses mix. Stringent biosecurity practice should be a priority on all yards.”
The group has concluded that the prevalence of EHV-associated disease has “returned to its typical background level”.
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A BEF statement added: “With immediate effect, this quarantine requirement has now been lifted and horses can return to [the] UK without any need to isolate.
“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. 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.”
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