BISMARCK – The North Dakota State Board of Animal Health (BOAH) has ordered that all out-of-state equines entering North Dakota be accompanied by a health certificate.

“The order takes effect immediately,” said the state veterinarian, Dr. Susan Keller. “This requirement supersedes the exemption for horses coming into North Dakota for less than seven days. It is also consistent with requirements of many other states, including South Dakota.”

A Keller's request, the BOAH met Tuesday morning by conference call. The motion to require the health certificate was passed unanimously by participating board members.

Keller acknowledged that requiring a certificate of veterinary inspection can only reduce the risk of introduction of the disease, but the board considered it necessary at this time to better monitor the movement of equines into North Dakota and to report disease findings to veterinarians and the equine industry in North Dakota.

As of May 19, about 34 cases of equine herpesvirus (EHV1) had been confirmed in nine western states and two Canadian provinces with about 60 suspect cases. All, but a few of the cases appear to be related to animals that participated in the National Cutting Horse Association's (NCHA) Western National Championship, held April 29-May 8, in Ogden, UT.

EHV1 can cause respiratory disease, abortion and sometimes the neurologic form of the disease, equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy (EHM). Although highly infectious and contagious among horses, EHV1 poses no threat to human health.