From the Chief Veterinary Officer for the Province of BC

If you are a veterinarian in BC, you are required, under legislation, to report disease. BC’s recently passed Animal Health Act requires veterinarians, and anyone responsible for an animal, to notify the Office of the Chief Veterinarian for BC of any disease on the list of notifiable and reportable diseases. Many of diseases on this list duplicate the CFIA list of diseases. The benefits of the modern legislation are clear. It is important for the Province to be aware of these things because we are in touch with multiple veterinarians in multiple regions of the province and can increase awareness of these diseases, and any needed response or surveillance measures. The BC Government can also play a direct role in testing to support monitoring and controlling a disease as we recently did with Salmonella Enteritidis in Alberta-sourced hatchery chicks. Below are the lists of Reportable and Notifiable Diseases for horses in BC that must be immediately reported to the Office of the Chief Veterinarian.
Reportable horse diseases:

  • African horse sickness
  • Contagious equine metritis
  • Eastern, Western, and Venezuelan equine encephalomyelitis
  • Equine infectious anaemia
  • Equine piroplasmosis caused by Babesia caballi or Theileria equi

Notifiable horse diseases

  • Equine herpes myeloencephalopathy
  • Equine rhinopneumonitis
  • Equine viral arteritis

The links to the new Animal Health Act and the Notifiable and Reportable Disease Regulation under that Act are: Act:
Similar lists are in the regulation for Cattle, Swine, Poultry, Fish, Bees, and for Multiple Species. The Act specifies that reporting be done under circumstances of suspicion as well as confirmation of the disease. To report a suspicion or confirmation of a disease on the lists in the regulation, email the Chief Veterinarian for the Province ([email protected]).

A horse from Vancouver Island was recently found to be positive for Equine Infectious Anaemia. Before the modernized Animal Health Act, the veterinarian who submitted the test would not have been required to report the positive test result to the Province. As a result of receiving the information, we were able to share the information with other vets and the horse-owning community as a precaution. Often a quick response to the first confirmed cases of a disease is crucial in limiting its spread and reducing the numbers of infected animals.

Jane Pritchard, DVM, MVetSc, graduated from OVC in 1977, and completed a Masters in Anatomic Pathology at WCVM in 2000, continuing as an Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology for two years before embarking on a career with the BC Ministry of Agriculture in 2004. With the exception of a two-year international development project in China from 2007–2009, she has remained with the BC Government. In 2013, she was appointed to the role of Director of the Plant and Animal Health Branch, and Chief Veterinary Officer for the Province of British Columbia.