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Equine Health Blog

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Published in Farm Stewardship
Your action is needed now to help end the cruel practice of horse soring!
 
The Maryland Horse Council has long supported the passage of the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act in the US Congress. This act would prohibit the use of certain practices such as the use on show grounds of stacks, pads, action devices, and hoof bands on Tennessee Walking Horses, Racking Horses and related breeds (such as Spotted Saddle Horses) that perform with an accentuated gait that raises concerns about soring. Unfortunately, despite strong support from the horse industry, veterinary community, law enforcement and animal protection organizations (and the bipartisan co-sponsorship of a majority of both houses of Congress) the bill has yet to receive a vote. Now the US Department of Agriculture is stepping forward through its authority under existing federal law (the Horse Protection Act) to implement some important components of the PAST Act. USDA has decided to move forward with new regulations that will close loopholes in the current system of enforcement and go a long way to help eliminate soring.  The agency has put a proposed rule out for a public comment period of 60 days, ending on September 26, 2016.

The regulatory changes proposed in the rule include:
-          The elimination of the use on show grounds of stacks, pads, action devices, and hoof bands on Tennessee Walking Horses, Racking Horses and related breeds (such as Spotted Saddle Horses) that perform with an accentuated gait that raises concerns about soring, and
-          The elimination of the system of industry self-policing, and in putting in place the implementation of a new system of independent third party inspectors trained, licensed and overseen by USDA APHIS personnel.

The proposed rule has been published in the Federal Register and can be viewed here: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2016/07/26/2016-17648/horse-protection-licensing-of-designated-qualified-persons-and-other-amendments
 
Please make your voices heard by submitting comments on the proposed rule on the government website at this link: https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=APHIS-2011-0009
 
Also, USDA will be conducting a public meeting at  USDA-APHIS headquarters, 4700 River Rd., Riverdale, MD 20737; Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016; beginning at 9 a.m. Online registration is available here: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalwelfare/horse-protection-amendments
Anyone can also listen in or register to speak at the virtual meeting. 
 
Please take a moment to add your voice to end this cruel practice! Deadline for submitting comments is September 26, 2016.

 

Published in Legislative

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The Maryland State Vet’s Office (Maryland Department of Agriculture) has announced that Potomac Horse Fever has been confirmed in two Maryland horses, one of which has died from the disease. MDA is urging horse owners – especially those with horses that graze near rivers, streams and creeks – to watch their horses closely for signs of the disease. Clinical signs include mild to severe fever, diarrhea, loss of appetite, laminitis, and mild colic. Potomac Horse Fever is most commonly contracted by horses that ingest infected aquatic insects such as caddisflies and mayflies.

“Potomac Horse Fever surfaces here every few years,” said State Veterinarian Michael Radebaugh. “Because it can be fatal, we urge horse owners to pay special attention to how their horses feel. The vaccine for Potomac Horse Fever is not always effective, so we encourage owners to contact their veterinarian sooner rather than later if they suspect anything, even if the horse has been vaccinated.”

The two horses confirmed were in Frederick County, and both horses had been vaccinated. The second horse is being treated by a private veterinarian and is expected to recover.

The vaccine for Potomac Horse fever is not always effective but may lessen the severity of the disease. Horse owners are advised to follow the recommendations of their private practitioner concerning vaccination protocols. The department encourages owners to contact their veterinarian as soon as possible if they suspect anything, even if the horse has been vaccinated.

Potomac Horse Fever cannot be transmitted from horse to horse, and people are not at risk; however, veterinarians who diagnose it must report it to the State Veterinarian.

Click here for more information about the disease.

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Published in Equine Health