Biosecurity measures best defence against horse diseases

By Gary Sliworsky, Ag rep, Emo

The following is the latest “Horse News and Views,” which is prepared by Dr. Bob Wright, Animal Health and Welfare, OMAFRA, in co-operation with the staff and researchers of the University of Guelph.
The monthly column highlights research topics, extension resources, reminders of common poisonings, disease, or production concerns, and coming events, and is placed on our website at www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/livestock/horses/news.html
The first months of 2009 have been interesting for horse disease outbreaks. Import restrictions were placed on:
•Horses because of piroplasmosis when first diagnosed in Florida and now in Missouri;
•Horses and horse germplasm (semen and embryos) because of the ongoing North American-wide investigation into contagious equine metritis (CEM).
Sixteen Ontario mares and one stallion were identified as being potentially-infected with CEM as a result of insemination with potentially-imported infected semen in the 2008 breeding season.
As a precaution, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has quarantined animals on the farms, and these measures will remain in place until all potentially exposed mares and their foals have tested negative for CEM; and
•Horses coming from New Mexico and Texas due to vesicular stomatitis.
With a very mobile horse population, horse owners should incorporate biosecurity measures to prevent diseases from entering their premises into their daily procedures.
Refer to the factsheet, Biosecurity for Horse Farms, for more information.
As well, before crossing into, or returning from, the United States, horse owners are advised to contact CFIA for updates.
Contact your district office at www.inspection.gc.ca/english/directory/offbure.shtml or the Ontario regional office at 1-519-837-9400.
For further information, contact Dr. Bob Wright at 1-519-846-3412 or visit www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/
Dates to remember
•Sept. 2-4—Large animal clinic dates for Dr. Blair Simonson (call 274-7393 to book an appointment).

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