Imports of horse semen and embryos from the U. S. will now need more paperwork as Ottawa looks to keep a horse venereal disease out of Canada.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) new requirements, announced Feb. 3, follow an earlier tightening of restrictions Jan. 23 on imports of live U. S. horses and related animals.
CFIA found before Christmas that farms in Ontario and Alberta received semen last spring taken from one of three Kentucky stallions that have since tested positive for contagious equine metritis (CEM).
Semen (fresh and frozen) and embryos as of Jan. 29 need an import permit and a U. S. veterinary health certificate, declaring the donor stallion or mare has not been on a property quarantined or under investigation for CEM or where CEM had been isolated in the 60 days before collection. Antibiotics effective against the bacteria must be used in processing.
A donor mare for imported embryos also must not have been bred, either naturally or by artificial insemination, with semen from a CEM-positive stallion or a stallion from a property that’s either CEM-positive or under quarantine or investigation for CEM.
Canadian horse breeders looking to import semen or embryos will need to contact a CFIA area office to get import permit applications.
The U. S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) reports a total of 11 stallions in four states have now tested positive for CEM, as has a mare in Wisconsin. APHIS has also confirmed the locations of 512 other CEM-exposed horses in 45 states.
According to APHIS, clinical signs of CEM can include a vaginal discharge in up to 40 per cent of affected mares, as well as abortion and infertility.