DEFRA has announced that a new case of equine viral arteritis (EVA) has been diagnosed in Gloucestershire. Despite there being no treatment for EVA, the virus is not deemed high risk.

DEFRA has announced that a new case of equine viral arteritis (EVA) has been diagnosed in the UK.

EVA can cause swelling of the eye as well as swelling of the lower legs and the areas around the reproductive organsThe department said the disease – caused by the equine arteritis virus (EAV) – was diagnosed in a stallion in Gloucestershire on October 4, 2012.

It is understood that the infected horse has not been used for breeding since arriving in the UK in April and is now under breeding restrictions until it is shown to be free of the virus.

The virus varies in symptoms and severity. Infection may be obvious or there may be no signs at all. Symptoms include:

  • fever,
  • depression,
  • lethargy,
  • stiff movement,
  • runny nose,
  • conjunctivitis, and
  • swelling of the lower legs, around the eye and of the reproductive organs.

However, even if there are no signs, infection can still be transmitted and stallions may still be shedders. EVA can also cause abortions.

The virus is spread by:

  • venereal infection of mares by stallions during mating,
  • artificial insemination of mares with semen from infected stallions,
  • contact with aborted foetuses and other products of parturition, and
  • direct contact in droplets from coughs and sneezes.

This is the first time EVA has been seen in the UK since December 2010 and, despite there being no treatment currently available, DEFRA insists the virus is “of very low concern“.

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