Health Alert

ALERT: Vesicular Stomatitis Confirmed in 2019

By Katie Flynn, BVMS, MRCVS

On June 21, 2019, the National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa, confirmed vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) infection (Indiana serotype) on a premises in Kinney County, Texas. VSV-Indiana serotype has not been diagnosed in the U.S. since 1998; all VSV cases from 2004-2016 have been VSV-New Jersey serotype. Since this detection, the virus has been confirmed in Tom Green County, Texas and Sandoval County, New Mexico. For the latest information and VS Fact Sheet visit:

Any animal displaying signs compatible with vesicular stomatitis should be reported to your local CDFA AHB district office for investigation. A foreign animal disease diagnostician will be sent to the premises to examine the animal, collect appropriate samples, and conduct an epidemiologic investigation. The suspect animal will be quarantined until laboratory results determine the vesicular stomatitis status.

Requirements for Importing Horses, Cattle, Sheep, Goats and Swine into California from a Vesicular Stomatitis Affected State: All horses, cattle, sheep, goats and swine *originating from any state where vesicular stomatitis (VS) has been diagnosed (except cattle and swine transported directly to slaughter) must be accompanied by a health certificate (certificate of veterinary inspection) and signed by an accredited veterinarian that includes the following statement:

“I have examined all the animals identified on this certificate within 72 hours of shipment date and found them to be free from signs of Vesicular Stomatitis (VS). During the last thirty (30) days, these animals have not been exposed to VS nor located on a VS confirmed or a VS suspected premises.”

*For purposes of this requirement, “originating” means horses, cattle, sheep, goats, and swine that initially leave the VS infected state and come to California, or those that leave any state, visit an infected state, and then return to California. The California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) currently has no additional requirements on horses coming from a VS infected area to enter race tracks and/or CHRB-approved training centers. For more information, contact CHRB at 916-263-6000.

Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy (EHM) Updates: 

Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy (EHM) Updates: 
New San Mateo County Quarantine 
November 7, 2018: A 24 year old Arabian mare, originating from a San Mateo 
County facility, displaying neurologic signs has been confirmed positive for 
Equine Herpesvirus Myeloencephalopathy. The mare was removed from the 
property and placed in isolation and quarantined. CDFA is investigating to 
identify exposed horses which will be monitored for clinical signs and 
temperatures taken twice daily. Any horse displaying a fever or compatible 
clinical signs will be tested. CDFA will continue to monitor the situation 
and post new information as it becomes available.

Rabies Confirmed In San Luis Obispo County

Since June 2017, three bats have been tested positive for rabies in San Luis Obispo county. This is an important reminder to check your horse's vaccination records and make sure they are up to date. There are typically around 60 confirmed rabies cases in horses in the United States every year.

What Can Rabies Look Like?

Rabies is not typically an easy diagnosis in horses as the signs vary case
by case, but some common symptoms are:

  • Neurological signs such as: behavioral changes, changes in gait, trouble swallowing, and hypersalivation.
  • Aggressiveness
  • Tremors
  • Fever
  • Depression

It is important to ensure that your horses receive their rabies vaccine once
a year. Rabies infection in unvaccinated horses is uniformly fatal. For
further information about the rabies cases in San Luis Obispo County go to:

Sonoma County Farm Bureau Wildfire Information for Rural Areas

Sonoma County Farm Bureau is working with the Sonoma County Emergency Operations Center at the Fairgrounds, Sonoma County Horse Council and Sonoma County Animal Services to ensure that farmers, ranchers, and livestock have the support needed to overcome the damage caused by the destructive wildfires in Northern California.

Sonoma County Farm Bureau is coordinating donations of feed and supplies for livestock and horses. The Farm Bureau office has secured a storage yard and is in the process of gathering feed, particularly hay, for distribution to affected farmers throughout the county.

To donate goods including hay and livestock supplies or to request assistance, Sonoma County Farm Bureau can be reached at or 707-544-5575.

Equine Health Program Updates - CDFA

By Katie Flynn, BVMS, MRCVS

Equines Entering California through Border Stations

Border station personnel are required to document all horses crossing into California. This includes California horses returning to California. Thus, all horse trailers are required to stop at the border station crossings to provide destination information and required entry documentation. To facilitate prompt, efficient transition through the station, an Equine Only – California Entry Document has been developed. This document can be completed in advance and provided to the border personnel for verification.

Equine owners and transporters are encouraged to download and complete the document for presentation to station personnel.

To download the document, visit

Equine West Nile Virus Cases in California

For 2017, a total of fourteen (14) horses have been confirmed positive for West Nile Virus (WNV). The positive horses were located in Glenn, Contra Costa, Fresno, Kern (2), Riverside (4), Plumas, Lassen, Tehama and San Joaquin (2) counties. Eleven (11) horses were unvaccinated and three (3) horses had unknown vaccination status. Seven (7) horses died or were euthanized and seven (7) horses are recovering.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) continually monitors and investigates equine neurologic cases for the presence of WNV in California. CDFA urges horse owners to consult their veterinarian concerning a WNV vaccination program to ensure maximum protection of their horses.

For more information visit: