Notifiable diseases of horses
Monitoring and control of livestock diseases in Victoria is provided through the Livestock Disease Control Act 1994.
Contagious or infectious diseases and conditions which may affect horses listed are declared as notifiable diseases for the purpose of the Livestock Disease Control Act.
The reporting and record keeping requirements are also in accordance with that Act and Regulations made under it.
Diseases requiring immediate notification
These diseases of horses require immediate notification in Victoria:
- African Horse Sickness
- Borna Disease
- Contagious equine metritis
- Epizootic lymphangitis
- Equine babesiosis
- Equine encephalosis
- Equine influenza
- Hendra virus
- Japanese encephalitis
- Louping ill
- Screw worm fly
- Surra (Trypanosoma evansi)
- Venezuelan equine encephalomyelitis
- Vesicular stomatitis
- Warble fly infestation
- West Nile virus clinical infection
- Western equine encephalomyelitis
Diseases which must be reported within 12 hours
These diseases of horses must be reported within 12 hours in Victoria:
- Cattle tick
- Equine herpes-virus 1 (abortigenic and neurological strains)
Diseases which must be reported within 7 days
These diseases of horses must be reported within 7 days in Victoria:
- Equine infectious anaemia
- Equine piroplasmosis
- Equine viral arteritis
- Verocytotoxigenic E. coli
A person need not report the diseases listed if:
- the horse has been attended by a private or government vet
- appropriate diagnostic specimens obtained from the horse are submitted to a registered veterinary diagnostic laboratory.
Veterinarian and laboratories reporting the disease
If the horse has only been attended to by a veterinary practitioner, the veterinary practitioner must report the suspicion or presence of disease.
Where specimens are submitted to a registered veterinary diagnostic laboratory, the laboratory is responsible for reporting the disease.
These arrangements are to overcome multiple reporting and recording of disease incidents.
Reporting obligations of notifiable diseases
The Livestock Disease Control Act requires that a person knowing or having reason to suspect that a disease is present in horses or horse products:
- owned by that person or in the possession, control or charge of that person
- on land owned and occupied by that person
- dealt with by that person as a veterinary practitioner, an inspector under the Meat Industry Act 1993 or the Export Control Act 1982, operator of a meat processing facility licensed under the Meat Industry Act 1993 where a quality assurance program is in force, the owner or person in charge of premises registered as a veterinary diagnostic laboratory, knacker, stock agent or other person dealing with livestock, livestock products or hives by way of a profession, trade or business
must report the disease to an inspector.
Records relating to diseases must be retained for 7 years
Records must be kept for a period of 7 years from the time the presence of the endemic or exotic disease was identified. Both the owner of livestock and veterinary practitioner must retain any documents evidencing the suspicion or presence of a disease or exotic disease in livestock for the 7 years.
Confidentiality of information
All notifications are normally dealt with in the strictest confidence unless the owner authorises the release of the information.
Information about the disease status of a property or herd can only be released if the Secretary of the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions determines that release of the information is in the public interest (for example, if public health or international trade is compromised).
Early detection of exotic disease is extremely important and any horses with unusual signs should be reported to the nearest private or government veterinary officer.
There are no Government charges for exotic animal disease investigations, including negative diagnoses.