The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is reminding the Canadian equine industry that import requirements introduced in 2009 in response to an outbreak of contagious equine metritis (CEM) 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.
- CFIA Contagious Equine Metritis page
Contagious equine metritis (CEM) is a transmissible venereal disease in horses, caused by a bacterium called Taylorella equigenitalis. CEM is highly contagious and can have a devastating effect on equine reproductive activity. This disease occurs naturally only in horses, and all breeds are susceptible
In Canada, CEM is a reportable disease under the Health of Animals Regulations, and all cases must be reported to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). If anyone suspects a case of CEM, they must report it to the CFIA for immediate investigation.
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.
If CEM is found in Canada, the policy is to eradicate the disease. Eradication involves implementing disease control measures such as:
- 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 can be transmitted indirectly to mares and stallions via contaminated instruments and equipment such as:
- devices used for artificial insemination
- tail bandages
To prevent the disease form spreading, it is important to maintain strict hygiene when handling breeding mares and stallions.
For more information, please visit www.inspection.gc.ca or call 1-800-442-2342.