Twenty years ago the Lloyd's Equine Disease Quarterly was born. The inaugural commentary stated: "The purpose of the Equine Disease Quarterly is to provide accurate information highlighting an increase or decrease in the incidence of a particular equine disease or syndrome. It will also document the emergence of new or unfamiliar conditions."

In the first edition, the International Collating Centre report was 44 words long; now it fills an entire page at 600+ words. Why should the average horse owner even want to know about equine diseases on other continents? As was repeatedly emphasized at the October 2012 9th International Conference on Equine Infectious Diseases in Lexington, Ky., horses are worldwide travelers, and only through constant disease surveillance, testing, and communication can we further the understanding of disease incidence and spread. 

As an example, prior to 1999 the average horse owner had never heard of West Nile virus (WNV). In a few short years after its diagnosis in the United States, the first equine WNV vaccine was produced and now several vaccines are commercially available.

Twenty years ago, Hendra virus was unknown. While this disease is still foreign to North America, we can all learn valuable lessons on how the Australians have dealt with the disease since its emergence. In contrast, grass sickness has been a recognized equine disease for nearly a century, yet remains mysterious despite research efforts.

Equine Disease Quarterly has reported on diseases of importance in North America via national database data and a cadre of generous guest authors, leaders in their fields. Documenting numbers of cases of diseases and conditions in Kentucky has been accomplished through combing the records of the University of Kentucky (UK) Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center (now the UK Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory). From necropsy cases with diagnoses of cardiovascular disease (1997) to Salmonella isolates (2002) and leptospiral abortion updates (2011), this valuable information provides a glimpse into disease incidence and prevalence not easily obtained anywhere else in the world. Other Kentucky-specific data is generously provided from the office of the Kentucky state veterinarian, the Kentucky public health veterinarian, and others.

Unlike most other things in life, Equine Disease Quarterly remains free in print copy due to the generous support of Lloyd's of London and is mailed to individuals in more than 100 countries. All editions are archived and available online, and articles are widely disseminated by reprinting in veterinary publications, lay equine magazines, and newsletters.

Since 1986, Lloyd's has donated more than $1 million to support various activities undertaken within the Department of Veterinary Science, including funds for the Equine Disease Quarterly. The outcome of this partnership has provided tangible benefits to the equine industry, not just locally, but at national and international levels. We look forward to an ongoing relationship to benefit the health of horses around the world.

CONTACT: Roberta Dwyer, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVPM--859/ H. Gluck Equine Research Center, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Ky.

This is an excerpt from Equine Disease Quarterly, funded by underwriters at Lloyd's, London, brokers, and their Kentucky agents.

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About the Author

Equine Disease Quarterly

Equine Disease Quarterly is a quarterly equine disease research newsletter published by the University of Kentucky's Gluck Equine Research Center, and funded by underwriters at Lloyd's of London, brokers, and their agents.

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