Equine Viral Arteritis (EVA) is a notifiable viral disease that affects horses, mules and donkeys. It is notifiable in all stallions, and in mares that have been mated or inseminated within 14 days. The disease is common in warmblood horses on the continent.

If notifiable disease is suspected, contact the DAERA Helpline on 0300 200 7840 or your local DAERA Direct Regional Office. Failure to do so is an offence

A vaccine is available, and routine vaccination against EVA is recommended for stallions and teasers by the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) Codes of Practice for equine breeding: http://codes.hblb.org.uk/

Latest situation (14 June 2019)

Four cases of Equine Viral Arteritis have been confirmed in non-thoroughbred stallions in England since April 2019 on two premises. Three of the cases were confirmed on a premises in Dorset in South West England during April . The fourth case was confirmed in a non-thoroughbred stallion at a premises in Devon on 10 May 2019.  There are close epidemiological links between the two premises. There is no risk to public health.

Restrictions on breeding have been put in place on the animals to limit the risk of the disease spreading and further investigations are ongoing. The animals affected are not racehorses and there is no indication that upcoming racing events will be affected.  Initial investigations have indicated that there are no links to Northern Ireland, however DAERA is urging horse owners to remain alert to the ongoing threat.

Anyone who suspects that their animals are showing signs of the disease should immediately report it to their nearest DAERA Direct Office or to the DAERA helpline on 0300 200 7840.

How to spot equine viral arteritis

Signs of equine viral arteritis can include:

  • abortions (failed pregnancies in mares)
  • conjunctivitis (bloody tissue around the eye known as ‘pink eye’)
  • swelling of scrotum and prepuce or udder, also around eyes and lower legs
  • fever and runny nose
  • depression
  • lethargy and stiff movement

Many infected horses will show no clinical signs. In rare cases the disease can cause severe clinical signs or death in young foals.

EVA is spread through mating, artificial insemination, contact with aborted foetuses, fomites and also on the breath of infected animals.  

EVA is not notifiable in the EU. Most countries require pre-export testing of stallions before they can be imported.   

Mares recover quickly from infection, nevertheless, they are infectious for up to two weeks post infection and can spread the pathogen to their foals through milk;  to other susceptible animals through aerosol or nose to nose contact; or to a stallion from further mating in that period. In rare cases the disease can cause severe clinical signs or death in young foals.

You can help prevent the disease spreading by:

  • vaccinating stallions against the disease - talk to your vet for advice
  • practising good biosecurity at your premises
  • owners of mares and stallions are urged to have their animals tested before they are used for breeding

The above information is included in our one page leaflet – print this and keep it handy, or put a copy on your noticeboard.

EVA is a venereal and respiratory disease of horses and has no impact on humans.

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