MDA Statement on Missing Piroplasmosis Horses

The following is a statement released by the Missouri Department of Agriculture June 18:

The Missouri Department of Agriculture has announced that two quarantined horses that tested positive for equine piroplasmosis are missing from a Raytown, Mo., equine center, located in Jackson County. Equine piroplasmosis is a bloodborne disease only transmitted to horses by ticks and mechanically from animal to animal by contaminated needles. Humans are at no risk of being affected by this disease.

On June 4, the Department of Agriculture was notified of a piroplasmosis-positive horse and immediately took action, placing quarantine on the Raytown Equine Center and putting all of the horses at the facility on 24 hour surveillance. The quarantine, enacted by the Missouri State Veterinarian, was put in place to prevent movement of any horses from the equine center. Two horses were illegally removed from the premises Wednesday night following locks being cut from building doors and stalls. These horses are microchipped.

The Department is working with local, county, and state officials, as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to locate the horses.

"We continue to do everything we can to locate the two piroplasmosis-positive horses. Although this disease is not easily transmittable and does not affect humans, it is a disease that through ticks and contaminated needles can have a great impact on our horse industry," said Dr. Jon Hagler, director of the Department of Agriculture. "The Department of Agriculture is working with local, county, state, and federal officials to do everything we can to find these horses. We are asking anyone that has seen anything suspicious to notify their local authorities."

Seven horses tested positive for equine piroplasmosis on June 9. Today, with consent of the horse's owners, five piroplasmosis-positive horses were euthanized.

For more information, please contact the Missouri Department of Agriculture at 573/751-3377.

Read more: "Reports: Piroplasmosis Horses Removed from Quarantine"
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