Two More Florida Horses Positive for Piroplasmosis

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' investigation into equine piroplamosis has uncovered two additional positive animals in Polk County. These two cases bring the number of positive horses to eight. These cases include animals on three properties.

According to an official statement released by the Department, all of the positive horses are closely linked to the first premises in Manatee County, where the horse that showed clinical signs of the disease had lived.

The Department said in its statement that there is still no evidence that the causative organism is being spread via ticks, however, tick surveillance is continuing in an effort to ensure that there are no infected ticks and no tick species likely to transmit the disease in Florida.

More than 100 horses have now been tested for piroplasmosis, and 12 premises are quarantined.

Equine piroplasmosis was eradicated officially from Florida (and, thereby, the United States) in 1988. Animal health officials are working to trace the source of this disease flare-up and contain it.

The disease is spread by ticks, the use of contaminated needles, and possibly through blood-contaminated semen of infected stallions. It can also be spread by some tick species in the United States, and a few species can pass the parasite transovarially (from mother to offspring).

No states have restricted movement of Florida horses, but Canada has said it will not accept horses originating from Manatee County.

About the Author

Erin Ryder

Erin Ryder is a former news editor of The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care.

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