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Contagious Equine Metritis Imports Requirements Remain In Effect

Published: March 18, 2010 4:32 pm ET

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The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is reminding the Canadian equine industry that import requirements introduced in 2009 in response to an outbreak of contagious equine metritis in the United States remain in effect. The requirements cover the certification of equine germplasm (semen and embryos) and live horses from the U.S.

Canada is currently free of CEM. In order to maintain this status, import restrictions on animals from the U.S. must remain in place until the U.S. is deemed free of CEM by the CFIA. At this time, testing and treatment protocols are still ongoing in 17 states. The CFIA continues to closely monitor the situation in the U.S. and will update the import requirements when appropriate.

For complete information regarding import restrictions for equine germplasm (semen and embryos), click here.

For complete information regarding import restrictions for live horses, click here.

In Canada, CEM is a reportable disease under the Health of Animals Regulations, so all cases must be reported to the CFIA. If anyone suspects a case of CEM, they must report it to the CFIA for immediate investigation.

If CEM is found in Canada, the policy is to eradicate the disease. Eradication involves implementing disease control measures such as:

  • quarantines,
  • movement restrictions,
  • testing of exposed horses, and
  • treatment of infected horses

In addition, horses would be required to undergo significantly more stringent export testing before moving outside the country.

CEM is a transmissible venereal disease in horses. It is caused by a bacterium called Taylorella equigenitalis. It is highly contagious, spread primarily through reproductive activities. It can have a devastating effect on equine reproductive activity. Stallions carrying the disease can spread infection through semen that has been collected for artificial insemination. This route of transmission can spread the infection from a just few horses to many more. This disease occurs naturally only in horses, and all breeds are susceptible.

CEM can be transmitted indirectly to mares and stallions via contaminated instruments and equipment such as:

  • devices used for artificial insemination
  • tail bandages
  • buckets
  • sponges
  • gloves

To prevent the disease form spreading, it is important to maintain strict hygiene when handling breeding mares and stallions.

For more information, please visit or call 1-800-442-2342.

(With files from Equine Canada)

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