Wyoming Warns Horse Owners About CEM

Although the state is not involved with the investigation into contagious equine metritis (CEM), the Wyoming State Veterinarian is advising horse breeders and veterinarians to be aware of the equine reproductive disease. The investigation into CEM has involved several states following an outbreak in Kentucky in December 2008, and could have a significant economic impact on the horse industry.

Seven stallions in Kentucky and Indiana have been confirmed positive for CEM by the USDA's National Veterinary Services Laboratory. There are currently 92 exposed horses confirmed in 28 different states that are being held under quarantine. An exposed horse is one that was on the index premises in Kentucky and/or one that was bred to a CEM-positive horse. At least 250 additional horses are actively being traced, with owners of those horses located in at least 27 states.

Contagious equine metritis (CEM) is a transmissible, exotic, venereal disease of horses caused by the bacterium Taylorella equigenitalis. It is commonly transmitted directly during live cover breeding between undetected CEM-positive breeding mares and stallions, and indirectly transmitted by artificial insemination or contact with fomites, such as contaminated hands or instruments.

CEM is a reportable disease in Wyoming. Veterinarians and equine owners who suspect that a horse might have CEM or any other foreign animal disease should immediately contact state or federal animal health authorities. You can reach the Wyoming Livestock Board at 307/777-6443, or APHIS at 307/432-7960.

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