B.C. Equine Disease Surveillance & Report


To communicate the status of reportable and notifiable equine diseases in B.C. To also communicate the status of equine non-reportable and non-notifiable diseases at the discretion of equine veterinarians. This information is intended for veterinarians, horse owners and other stakeholders in the provincial equine industry.

How the surveillance program works

The program is a cooperative information sharing partnership between the B.C. government's Animal Health Centre and veterinarians practicing in B.C. Verified diagnostic information regarding the occurrence of reportable, notifiable and non-reportable/notifiable diseases will be posted below in the B.C. Equine Disease Report. 

Diseases to be communicated in the report:

Non-reportable and Non-notifiable Diseases: To post a diagnosis of a non-reportable, non-notifiable disease on this site, the veterinarian will contact the page manager at 1-800-661-9903 with the clinical and diagnostic information for the case. The manager will upload the case to the Equine Disease Report and will follow the case with the veterinarian to resolution. Updates to the case will be added to the Equine Disease Report as warranted.

Reportable and Notifiable Diseases: These diseases prescribed under the Animal Health Act are mandatory to report to the Chief Veterinary Officer of B.C. upon diagnosis. After a reportable or notifiable disease is reported, the Chief Veterinary Officer will inform the page manager of the diagnosis for posting in the disease report below. To see a list of all equine reportable and notifiable diseases, please click the headings.

  • African Horse Sickness
  • Contagious Equine Metritis
  • Eastern, Western and Venezuelan Equine Encephalomyelitis
  • Equine Infectious Anemia
  • Equine Piroplasmosis caused by Babesia caballi or Theileria equi
  • Rabies
  • Vesicular Stomatitis
  • Anaplasmosis
  • Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy
  • Equine Rhinopneumonitis
  • Equine viral arteritis
  • Salmonella Dublin
  • Salmonella Enteritidis
  • Salmonella Heidelberg
  • Salmonella Typhymurium
  • West Nile Virus

The Reportable and Notifiable Diseases regulation requires that a report be made to the office of the Chief Veterinarian within 24 hours if you have reasonable grounds to suspect that a reportable or notifiable diseases has occurred:

Make a report to the office of the Chief Veterinarian Officer of B.C. 

Date: September 18, 2017    

Disease: West Nile Virus    

Location: Nelson, B.C.

Status: New disease report

Confirmed report of another West Nile Virus positive horse in B.C.

  • This case is from Nelson, B.C. where a 10 year old quarter horse mare, not vaccinated for 8 years, displayed neurological signs of mild ataxia and a facial twitch.
  • The attending veterinarian submitted serum samples for WNV testing which were positive at Cornell Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory for IgM and IgG, Cornell has a 3.3 cut off, IgG was 32.55, IgM was 5.64

Date: January 3, 2017    

Disease: West Nile Virus    

Location: British Columbia

Status: Summary of WNV in B.C. for 2016:

B.C. had 10 confirmed equine cases of WNV in 2016. Nine of the cases were in the south Kootenays (1 in the southern half of Kootenay Lake, 4 in the Creston area and 3 around Cranbrook and 1 in the Castlegar area; one of these horses came from Alberta).  And one case was in the Fraser Valley (Langley – shortly after arriving from the US). All cases occurred on separate premises.

The cases varied in age from 4 to over 20 years old.

Onset of clinical signs for the 10 cases ranged from August 7 to Sept 5. Their clinical presentations varied and included lethargy, impaired mentation, ataxia, proprioceptive deficits, and muscle fasciculations. All cases had a positive IgM titre as determined at various labs including Cornell, IDEXX and Prairie Diagnostic Services.

One of Kootenays cases and the Fraser Valley case had arrived from the US and Alberta, respectively, within 10 days of the appearance of clinical signs. So WNV infection of these horses outside BC cannot be ruled out.

Date: Clinical signs commenced August 26, 2016. Diagnosis confirmed September 14, 2016.

Disease: West Nile Virus

Location: Fraser Valley

Status: New disease report

A 10 year old Warmblood transported to B.C. from USA 10 days prior to commencement of  clinical signs. Horse was transported from an area of the USA which currently has WNV activity. Initial signs included low grade fever and neurological deficits with hypermetria progressing to ataxia. Positive IgM test for WNV. Horse was vaccinated in April, 2016 (further details regarding vaccination are pending). Horse is recovering.

Date: August 13 to September 1, 2016

Disease: West Nile Virus

Location: Southern Kootenay Lake, Creston, Cranbrook area

Status: New disease report

Seven horses located on seven separate premises. Clinical presentation varied and included lethargy, impaired mentation, ataxia, proprioceptive deficits and muscle fasciculation. All seven had positive IgM titres. One of the seven cases arrived from outside B.C. within 10 days of exhibiting clinical signs so may have contracted the infection elsewhere. Follow-up is being undertaken to determine vaccination status of all horses and case outcome. Initial information indicates the horses are recovering and some of the cases were unvaccinated or not up to date on vaccination.

Date: Horse died August 17, 2016. Diagnosis made August 31, 2016.

Disease: Potomac Horse Fever

Location: Robson Valley between McBride and Tete Jaune Cache

Status: New disease report

Mature mixed breed mare with diarrhea of 4 days duration. Colitis diagnosed on post mortem, positive for Neorickettsia risticii on PCR test with confirmatory sequencing. No history of other horses affected.

Date: August 8 and 11, 2016

Disease: West Nile Virus

Location: Cranbrook

Status: New disease report

Two dead crows from Cranbrook area were collected and tested for WNV. PCR test was strongly positive on brain.

Date: Examined August 7, 2016. Confirmed Aug 18, 2016

Disease: West Nile Virus

Location: Castlegar

Status: New disease report

West Nile Virus in a 20 year old mare.  The horse was ataxic with proprioceptive deficits and muzzle asymmetry. The animal had a low grade inflammatory leukogram, a WNV IgM capture ELISA titre of 12.99 and IgG capture ELISA of 37.42. (Diagnostic testing was conducted at Cornell). The clinical signs and IgM tire of > 3.3 meet the B.C. equine WNV case definition. The season and location of the case further support a case of WNV. The horse is responding to symptomatic treatment. The premise has two other horses, both are normal. The horse has not received WNV vaccinations and there is no travel history.

Date: March 10, 2016.

Disease: Strangles

Location: Southlands area of Vancouver

Status: New disease report

Confirmed in a 5 year old mixed breed feral rescue horse noted to have a draining abscess under the jaw. Voluntary quarantine was enacted. Three adjacent in contact horses at the barn tested negative for Strangles in 3 tests done at weekly intervals. The affected horse has since recovered and been moved to a new home. No new cases have been reported as of April 12, 2016.