Inasmuch as we have received more than a handful of inquiries about managing a mare for breeding to an EVA positive stallion and as many of those queries are directly related to some blatant misinformation perpetuated by Gray Fox Farm, I believe it is important to publicly set the record straight on a few points:
Of significant note and importance, it must be made clear that NOT vaccinating a mare prior to breeding to an EVA positive stallion is irresponsible, REGARDLESS of what you may have been told by Jill Burnell. Furthemore, Dr. Timoney has NOT stated that Redwine has a "mild form" of the disease, nor has he stated that he (Dr. Timoney) believes that the stallion will eventually cease shedding the virus. When asked by us for clarification of his alleged comments, Dr. Timoney responded: "On the matter of the quotes attributed to me by a particular breeder [Jill Burnell] who has an 'EVA shedding stallion' in her care, I can categorically refute ever stating to her that 'there is a really good chance her stallion will clear the virus and be negative at some point'. It is very possible that in conversation with this individual, I would have advised regular re-checking semen of the stallion for evidence of continued persistence of the virus and that there is the chance that the animal may spontaneously clear the virus from its reproductive tract at some point. Furthermore, the quote 'Dr. Timoney thinks he has an extremely mild form of the virus' is not what I would have stated under any circumstances. Clearly, this person would appear to be intent on downplaying the significance of the carrier state in her stallion. Every effort should be made to correct any misinformation such as the foregoing in situations where particular breeders are mindless of the potential consequences of what they say or post. On the matter of vaccinating seronegative mares prior to breeding with infective semen, there should be no question over the value of this precautionary measure. That point needs to be emphasized and re-emphasized for those less well informed about the possible consequences of infection with EAV."
NOT vaccinating your mare prior to breeding to an EVA positive stallion presents some real risks, even if you have NO other horses on the property and are relatively isolated. Specifically, if you do NOT vaccinate your mare and you breed to a shedding stallion, your mare has been exposed to an active virus and is very likely to contract the disease. She will then be - for a subsequent period of up to three weeks - capable of passing that virus on to other animals, including pregnant mares AND breeding stallions. So, even if you feel that there is absolutely NO risk of your mare being exposed to any animals, what happens if your mare injures herself or colics and must go into a clinic? In taking the mare to the clinic, you are going to expose ALL of the animals at the clinic to the virus. Will you disclose that your mare has NOT been vaccinated and has been exposed to the active virus? Alternatively, what happens if your mare gets out and decides to go visit the neighbors animals (or the neighbor's animals escape and visit her)? Are you going to disclose that you have just exposed all of their animals to an active case of the disease and viral presence? And, what if she decides to sidle up next to their breeding stallion for a "chat"? If that happens, there is a very distinct risk that their stallion will become infected and a "shedder stallion" himself. Remember that although the virus can be transmitted in semen, the disease is primarily respiratory in nature and consequently an infected mare can transmit through aerosol droplets. NOT vaccinating stock is irresponsible and is, in large part, why this disease continues to be a problem within the USA. Indeed, unintentionally encountered scenarios such as I have described above are part of how the Quarter Horse and Tennessee Walking Horse industry had issues with it in the recent past.
Because of the CEM outbreak in the U.S. a few years back, the shipping of semen between the U.S. and Canada has become more difficult and problematic. We hope that in the not too distant future, the border will re-open with regards to shipping of equine semen and we would rather not see those problems compounded because of EVA.
For more information on the disease including an article we wrote with Dr. Timoney on EVA, please go to these articles: Equine Viral Arteritis
and Equine Viral Arteritis