10 Florida Horses Positive for Piroplasmosis

The investigation into equine piroplasmosis conducted by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DOACS) in conjunction with the USDA has now turned up 10 horses positive for the disease. These horses live on three properties, all of which have been directly linked to the property on which the first case was found.

There are 17 properties under quarantine orders, and more than 130 horses have been tested.

Equine piroplasmosis is caused by two parasites, Babesia caballi and B. equi. The parasites are able to hitch a ride on certain ticks, in which they can amplify, thus, creating the potential for spread to horses. The parasites can also be spread via shared needles.

According to Mike Short, DVM, equine programs manager for the DOACS, it seems most likely that the disease was passed on the original property via shared needles and other management practices used there.

However, tick surveillance is being conducted in association with the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Diseases Study, which has extensive experience in environmental tick collection.

The DOACS noted that the investigation will likely result in additional premises being placed under quarantine as horses that have had contact with a positive horse are traced to their current locations and tested.

Several of the currently quarantined premises might be released soon, as the investigation has determined that no exposure to a positive horse had occurred, no horses have tested positive on the premises, and no ticks capable of spreading the disease have been found.

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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