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Equine Health Blog

Click here to see a short and useful summary from our friends at the University of Maryland Ag Law blog.

Published in Legislative

Another bit of useful info from our friends at the Universtiy of Maryland Ag Law Blog:

Click here to read this article about the effects of divorce on farm ownership and farming in Maryland.

Published in Legislative

The USDA’s National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) will launch Equine 2015, its third national study of the U.S. equine industry, in May. NAHMS conducted previous equine studies in 1998 and 2005.

A NAHMS stakeholder announcement indicated the Equine 2015 is designed to provide participants, industry, and animal health officials with information on the nation’s equine population that will serve as a basis for education, service, and research related to equine health and management. The survey is also designed to provide the industry with new and valuable information regarding trends in the industry for 1998, 2005, and 2015.

"The findings from the NAHMS studies will allow equine owners and equine operation managers to compare their equine health and management to that of national and regional equine health occurrence and equine care practices," explained Josie Traub-Dargatz, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVIM, a professor of equine medicine and epidemiology at Colorado State University and equine commodity specialist for USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Veterinary Services (VS) Center for Epidemiology and Animal Health. "The study findings will also allow researchers and others to determine need for further investigation of equine health problems."

The stakeholder announcement said that, for this study, NAHMS asked equine owners, industry stakeholders, and government officials to provide input and define the information needs of the equine industry. From this process, NAHMS identified seven study objectives:

Describe trends in equine care and health management for study years (1998, 2005, and 2015);
Estimate the occurrence of owner-reported lameness and describe lameness management practices;
Describe health and management practices associated with important equine infectious diseases;
Describe health-related costs of equine ownership;
Evaluate gastrointestinal parasite control practices;
Evaluate equids for the presence of ticks, and describe tick-control practices used on equine operations; and
Collect equine blood sera along with demographic information to create a serum bank for future studies.

To collect the data for the study, representatives from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will visit randomly selected equine operations in 28 states, beginning in May 2015, and conduct personal interviews at all participating operations. Those states include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Traub-Dargatz said states were selected based on the number or density of the state equine population, geographic location, and available regional workforce to conduct the study.

According to the stakeholder announcement, representatives from the USDA’s VS will schedule visits for operations that choose to continue in the second phase of the study from late summer through mid-December to administer a second questionnaire, perform a facility biosecurity assessment, collect equine blood and fecal samples, perform a tick exam of equines on the operation, and collect tick specimens for identification. Operations continuing in the study also have the option of collecting fecal samples to be tested for internal parasites in order to detect anthelmintic resistance.

Traub-Dargatz said potential participants in the study will be selected based on NASS' list of operations with equine from the 2012 Agriculture Census—horse owners and equine facility operators cannot self-select to participate. Operations in the participating states with five or more equids based on their equine inventory during the 2012 agricultural census will be eligible for selection by NASS for participation in the study.

"The selection procedure allows NAHMS to provide estimates based on having a representative sample of equine operations selected for inclusion in the study," she said.

Traub-Dargatz stressed that the study relies heavily on the participation of selected owners and equine facility operators: "It is very important for those equine owners that are selected to participate in the study to give their response on the questionnaires and have their animals be part of the biologic sampling as the selected owners/equine operations represent others in their state."

Interested individuals can see the results of the previous NAHMS equine studies at

Published in Equine Health

Pennsylvania EHV Horse showed in Maryland

Posted: 31 Mar 2015 08:10 PM PDT

A horse from Pennsylvania that appeared in a Maryland horse show on March 15 has tested positive for the equine herpes virus (EHV); however, none of the horses that were in the Maryland show and none of the horses that live with the sick horse in Pennsylvania are currently exhibiting any signs of illness. One horse that was reported to the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) with a fever on March 29 tested negative for EHV.

The horse that is sick did not exhibit any symptoms until March 22 and did not exhibit any signs of illness while in Maryland. The officials of the Maryland show have contacted all trainers of horses in the division that the sick horse was shown in to alert them of the risk and recommend they monitor their horses through April 5, which is the end of the 21 day incubation period for equine herpes.

MDA’s Animal Health Program is monitoring the situation closely. Owners should contact their private veterinarians to arrange for EVH testing if a horse exhibits significant temperature elevations or neurologic signs. Veterinarians are required to report equine neurologic syndrome to MDA.

As of right now, there is no indication that any other horses that had contact with the sick Pennsylvania horse are ill. The Pennsylvania horse is reportedly improving.

Published in Equine Health
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