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Horse movements between New Zealand and Australia have again been suspended after a mare tested positive to an equine disease.

The ban comes just weeks after the two countries lifted travel restrictions on horses, which had been imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has advised that a suspected positive test result for the disease piroplasmosis has been returned as part of standard export certification testing of a mare before shipment from New Zealand.

Further blood tests have been taken with the MPI expecting confirmation of the results by the end of this week.

Piroplasmosi is a blood disease that causes anaemia and is spread from animal to animal by ticks, although the ticks known to transmit the disease are not found in New Zealand.

The mare was originally imported from the EU last year but no signs of disease in the animal had been reported.

A shipment of horses to Australia scheduled for earlier this week was put on hold and another shipment scheduled for Friday is also likely to be delayed.

More than 1200 thoroughbreds are exported from New Zealand to Australia each season with a significant number earmarked to travel in the coming months.

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