National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS)

All areas of the equine industry answered the USDA's National Animal Health Monitoring System's (NAHMS) questions on what the industry needs the most. Over the past three years NAHMS has been conducting focus groups, individual interviews, and public surveys to target the needs of the industry.

NAHMS is a nonregulatory USDA program that relies on selected animal or livestock owners who are asked to provide data needed to address national population health and production. To date, NAHMS studies have provided baseline information on the swine, beef and dairy cattle, sheep, and catfish populations. Equine '98 is NAHMS' first national equine health assessment.

Many people with ties to the industry, including horse owners, veterinarians, academicians, organizations, diagnostic laboratory personnel, and USDA Veterinary Services' staff, contributed ideas for study topics. NAHMS compiled input into a series of objectives for a national study of equine health and management.

Many equine health problems were proposed during the needs assessment process, and NAHMS selected those for which a national study could deliver the best information. For instance, Equine '98 will estimate prevalence of problems such as colic, some lameness conditions, infectious respiratory disease, and equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM) as reported by horse owners and managers. Other targets are to find out how many US horses are tested for equine infectious anemia (EIA) and why owners test; how many horses have positive and negative titers to equine influenza; and if there is a seasonal aspect to Salmonella and parasite ova fecal shedding in horses.

National horse health information will be helpful from many viewpoints, but it is even more valuable when combined with information on management practices in use. Another Equine '98 objective is to evaluate potential impacts of management practices on selected health problems.

Approximately 4,000 scientifically selected horse owners will receive an Equine '98 brochure by spring 1998.

For more information on NAHMS and Equine '98 needs assessment results, contact Centers for Epidemiology and Animal Health, USDA:APHIS:VS, attn. NAHMS, 555 South Howes; Fort Collins, Colo. 80521; 970/490-8000; e-mail: Or, visit NAHMS on the Internet at

About the Author

Tim Brockhoff

Tim Brockhoff was Staff Writer of The Horse:Your Guide to Equine Health Care from 1995 to 1999. His degree is in Agricultural Communications from the University of Kentucky, and his equine experience is with American Saddlebreds.

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with FREE weekly newsletters from Learn More