Piroplasmosis Prevention: Kentucky Revises Entry Requirements

Investigations into the occurrence of equine piroplasmosis, caused by Theileria (babesia) equi, continue and as of June 10 a total of 457 horses have been found positive to T. equi in the United States.

Data indicates three sources of introduction and/or associated spread. Veterinarians believe 410 positives are epidemiologically linked to an outbreak that has apparently spanned many years in Southwest Texas. These 410 positive horses have been discovered in no fewer than 16 states.

The remaining 47 positives were discovered when testing to meet various regulatory testing requirements imposed for interstate movement and/or exhibition requirements. In each of these cases, epidemiological information supports the source of infection was either undetected at time of importation or iatrogenic spread (in this case via blood doping) associated with nonsanctioned Quarter Horse racing.

In response to this prevalence of disease, the Office of the Kentucky State Veterinarian has implemented the following strategies to mitigate the identified risks:

Entry requirements have been revised to require all Texas resident horses entering Kentucky to be accompanied with a negative test for equine piroplasmosis (cELISA for T.equi) and to have an Entry Permit issued by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. The Office of the Kentucky State Veterinarian is continuing to allow the equine piroplasmosis test to be valid for up to 12 months for entry and is qualifying that horses that have been in Texas less than 30 days are not considered Texas resident equine and can enter or re-enter Kentucky without testing. These revised entry requirements are subject to change as the investigation(s) continues to mature.

The Red Mile Race Track in Lexington, Ky., is scheduled to conduct a two-day Quarter Horse meet on July 16 and 17. In preparation, the Kentucky State Veterinarian's Office has directed that all horses (both racing and nonracing) seeking entrance onto the Red Mile grounds for the meet are required to be accompanied with documentation demonstrating they have been tested by cELISA during the preceding 12 months and were found negative to both T. (Babesia) equi and B. caballi.

The Kentucky State Veterinarian's Office is requiring that all horses coming onto the Kentucky Horse Park grounds during the World Equestrian Games be accompanied with documentation demonstrating they have been tested by cELISA during the preceding 12 months and were found negative to both T. (Babesia) equi and Babesia caballi.

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