Health Updates and Information
Vaccination Protects Horses from Deadly Mosquito-Transmitted Viruses
Release Date: April 30, 2018
Leeann Duwe, Communications Specialist, 608-224-5005
Bill Cosh, Communications Director, 608-224-502
MADISON – The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) is encouraging horse owners to vaccinate their horses to protect the animals from mosquitos carrying the deadly West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). Last year, Wisconsin had a record 24 confirmed cases of each virus.
“It’s very sad to see horses affected by these viruses when vaccination can usually prevent illness. (EEE) is fatal in approximately 90% of clinical cases and (WNV) is fatal in approximately 30% of clinical cases,” said Dr. Julie McGwin, DATCP equine program veterinarian. According to the Equine Disease Communication Center, the number of cases of EEE reported by southern states has increased more this year than the same time last year.
WNV and EEE may cause encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain. Symptoms of encephalitis in horses include depression, appetite loss, drooping eyelids and lower lip, fever, weakness, twitching, paralysis or lack of coordination, aimless wandering, circling, and blindness. Horses may also go down, be unable to rise, exhibit seizures, or become unresponsive, especially with EEE, which can be fatal within 24 hours.
Horses that have never been vaccinated will need two doses of the vaccination initially, and then boosters at least annually. It takes at least two weeks to build up enough antibodies to protect the horse and the vaccine will not protect the horse if given after the horse is infected. Horse owners should check with their veterinarian to ensure their horse’s vaccines are current.
Besides vaccination, other steps to limit a horse’s exposure to mosquitoes during warm weather include:
- Remove items from surrounding property that could collect stagnant water such as old tires, tin cans, plastic containers.
- Keep rain gutters clean and draining properly.
- Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs, and drain water from pool covers.
- Turn wading pools and wheelbarrows upside down when not in use.
- Empty and replace water in birdbaths at least once a week.
- Consider keeping horses in the barn from dusk to dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
- Discuss using equine mosquito repellents with your veterinarian.
The virus is not contagious between horses. While humans may also be infected by WNV and EEE, the viruses do not pass directly between people and horses. Mosquitoes carry the viruses from infected birds and the only route of transmission is from a mosquito bite.Because the viruses follow mosquito populations, the threat varies depending on the weather but normally starts in mid- to late summer and remains until the first killing frost. For more information about EEE and WNV and other horse diseases, visit DATCP’s website at https://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/Programs_Services/AnimalDiseases.aspx.
From American Horse Council (AHC)
October 31, 2017
National Equine Health Plan Published
Valuable resource will help curtail risk of disease spread
The American Horse Council (AHC), in conjunction with the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and state animal health officials, is pleased to announce that the National Equine Health Plan (NEHP) is now available at equinediseasecc.org/national-equine-health-plan.
The horse industry is unique because horses are transported with more frequency than other livestock. It's been seen firsthand how disease outbreaks cost the industry millions of dollars for the care of sick horses, implementation of biosecurity, and lost revenue in the form of cancelled or restricted commercial equine activities such as horseshows. In 2013, the industry felt it was time to step up and address the issue of the handling of disease outbreaks and the dissemination of information surrounding the outbreaks. This gave way to the creation of the NEHP that will outline the issues surrounding the prevention, diagnosis and control of diseases and the responsibilities and roles of the federal and state authorities and the industry.
The goals of the NEHP are to protect the health and welfare of the U.S. equine population, facilitate the continued interstate and international movement of horses and their products, ensure the availability of regulatory services, and protect the economic continuity of business in the equine industry.
The NEHP also functions as a roadmap for coordinating horse owners and industry organizations with veterinarians and state and federal animal health officials to prevent, recognize, control and respond to diseases and environmental disasters. The plan facilitates horse industry preparedness, effective rapid communication, and owner education, which make up the foundation for preventing diseases and disease spread. Links to information and resources are included in the NEHP document, including a list of “Roles and Responsibilities” for all stakeholders in the industry.
The Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) is a key element of the NEHP and provides critical communication of information during disease outbreaks. Additionally, equinediseasecc.org provides information about diseases, vaccination, biosecurity, state health regulations, state animal health official contact information and links to USDA-APHIS veterinary services. By integrating the roles of regulatory agencies with industry stakeholders, equine health and welfare are improved.
The NEHP provides immediate access to resources and communications needed to optimize disease mitigation and prevention. It serves as a guide for regulations and responses needed to mitigate and prevent infectious diseases. The AHC and the AAEP encourage sharing this document as it will help educate horse owners about how veterinarians and state and federal officials work together to decrease the risk of disease spread.
If you have any questions about the NEHP or the EDCC, please contact Dr. Nat White at firstname.lastname@example.org or Cliff Williamson, Director of Health & Regulatory Affairs at the AHC at email@example.com.
Managing Toxic Weeds In Your Pastures
Please click on the link below to access and view a PDF document of a PowerPoint presentation given by Peg Reedy, Walworth County UW-Extension regarding toxic plants.
Another publication can be purchased or downloaded from the UW Extension entitled "Toxic Plants in Midwest Pastures and Forages". Please click on the link below to be redirected to their website where you can obtain this information.
West Nile Virus found in Central Wisconsin horse - July 24, 2017
Please click on the link below to access and read the news release from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, (datcp.wi.gov) regarding this situation.
NIAA Equine Forum 2017: Advancing ID, Traceability and Electronic Health Records
Please click on the link below to access and read the white paper published from the NIAA Equine Forum 2017.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Nik Hawkins, firstname.lastname@example.org, 608-263-6914
DOWNLOAD PHOTOS: http://go.wisc.edu/new-equine-equipment
NEW EQUIPMENT PROVIDES ADVANCED CARE FOR EQUINE PATIENTS AT UWVC
MADISON -- Two new advanced pieces of equipment are improving the equine patient experience at UW Veterinary Care (UWVC), the clinical arm and teaching hospital of the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM).
With the addition of a small, flexible needle arthroscope, UWVC veterinarians can now perform arthroscopic surgery on joints while animals are under sedation rather than general anesthesia. This poses less risk for patients and also enables surgeons to view joint structures under normal anatomical circumstances (i.e., while the animal is standing), which can increase the accuracy of diagnoses.
“Other diagnostic techniques, such as ultrasound and radiography, offer a more limited view of the joint,” says Sabrina Brounts, clinical associate professor of large animal surgery at the SVM, “so this new tool can definitely add to our evaluations.”
The new unit is especially useful for performing arthroscopy on the stifle, a complex hind-limb joint -- basically the equivalent of the human knee -- that connects the femur, patella, and tibia in four-legged mammals and is the common location of injuries in athletic horses. As an added benefit, recovery times for evaluative procedures involving the needle arthroscope are shorter than a standard arthroscopy unit. The new tool can also be used on dogs and other small mammals, but equine patients likely will be the primary beneficiaries at UWVC.
A generous donation from Chuck and Sandy Yanke, long-time supporters of the SVM, and a gift from the Split Rail Foundation helped the clinic purchase the arthroscopy unit, which adds to a long list of equine services that only UWVC offers in Wisconsin. This includes nuclear imaging, dynamic endoscopy for diagnosing respiratory issues during full exercise, acoustoelastography for monitoring tendon injuries, and a board-certified specialist in equine sports medicine and rehabilitation.
“I am not aware of anyone else in the state performing this arthroscopy procedure,” says Brounts.
As another boon for equine patients and owners, UWVC has also acquired a new portable electrocardiogram (ECG) machine. An ECG is used to assess the structure and function of an animal’s heart by recording its electrical activity as transmitted through electrodes placed on the skin. It can detect arrhythmias and other abnormalities and monitor the effects of various treatments. The new battery-powered unit is wireless and small enough to be strapped to a horse in a surcingle belt, allowing clinicians to monitor the animal remotely, including while it is running or walking outdoors.
“This is especially useful because many heart conditions only become apparent during exercise,” says Ana Moreira, a large animal medicine resident at UWVC.
Other advantages of the portable ECG unit include live readings transmitted to a laptop or portable device via Bluetooth technology, a memory card that can store days-worth of data, and electrodes that are fastened via stickers rather than cumbersome and uncomfortable crocodile clips.
The ECG machine was purchased with the help of a combined gift from sisters Barb and Patty Van Housen, which was inspired by the exceptional care that Patty’s horse, Rinka, received during an emergency visit to UWVC’s Morrie Waud Large Animal Hospital.
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Equine Diseases Forum 2016 White Paper Now Available
June 9, 2016
For Immediate Release - Please click on the links below to access the Equine Diseases Forum Press Release and White Paper.
EQUINE DISEASES FORUM PRESS RELEASE - PDF
Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC)
May 23, 2016
Owners, trainers, veterinarians and other equine industry participants can be alerted to infectious disease outbreaks and updates through an e-mail notification system recently implemented by the Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC), an industry-funded hub for efficient communication of information about equine infectious diseases and disease outbreaks.
The EDCC’s Outbreak Alert e-mail service advises subscribers when an infectious disease outbreak is confirmed or an update to a previously reported outbreak is available, such as when a quarantine has been lifted. Each e-mail includes a link to the Disease Outbreak Alerts page of the EDCC website for detailed information about the alert.
The e-mail alerts are available at no charge as a service to the industry; subscribe through the EDCC Mailing List link at www.equinediseasecc.org. Alerts and other information are also posted on the EDCC’s social media platforms. “Like” the EDCC on Facebook at www.facebook.com/EquineDiseaseCC and follow @EquineDiseaseCC on Twitter.
The EDCC is based in Lexington, Ky., at the AAEP’s headquarters with website and call center hosting provided by the United States Equestrian Federation. The EDCC is funded entirely through the generosity of organizations, industry stakeholders and horse owners. To learn how you can make a tax-deductible contribution to the EDCC, visit www.equinediseasecc.org and click the Sponsors link.
Contact: Bailey McCallum
email@example.com or (859) 705-0360
Equine Disease Quarterly - University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment Department of Veterinary Science
Please click on the links provided below to view the publications from the University of Kentucky on equine disease information.
- April 2016
- July 2016
- October 2016
- January 2017
- April 2017
- July 2017
- October 2017
- January 2018
- April 2018
Help Support the Equine Disease Communication Center - An Insurance Policy for the U.S. Equine Industry
In 2010 the USDA approached the American Horse Council (AHC) to help the industry prepare an industry response to disease outbreaks. The AHC working with the USDA initiated a draft of a National Equine Health Plan (NEHP). Please click on the link below to read more details about this very important project and how you can help by donating to this effort.
From DATCP: Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) testing requirements change in Wisconsin
Equine Infectious Anemia test results done within the 12 months prior to the date of import are now acceptable when importing horses into Wisconsin. Nursing foals accompanying an EIA-negative dam are exempt from pre-import testing as long as the nursing status is identified on the Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI). The EIA test date and result must be written on the CVI. This change also applies to horses changing ownership in Wisconsin and horses attending fairs and exhibitions.
Without the waiver, all horses participating in fairs or exhibitions would have to have a negative EIA test during the calendar year of the exhibition.
This waiver expires on June 1, 2014. The new rule will go into effect on the same date making the change permanent.
Anyone with questions about the waiver can call 800-572-8981 for assistance.
Equine Piroplasmosis is present in many areas of the world. The United States and Canada are among the few countries that are not considered to be endemic areas. This equine disease is caused by two parasitic organisms and is primarily transmitted by ticks. It can also be transmitted mechanically from animal to animal by contaminated needles. There are many symptoms that usually will show anywhere from 7 to 22 days after infection has occurred. A few of them are anemia, fever, labored breathing, swollen abdomens, constipation and colic. In milder cases it may present in the form of weakness or lack of appetite. The highest risk for transmitting this disease is through the trading of animals or through international equestrian sports where infected and non-infected animals are in contact. The USDA website has more information available regarding this disease, including how to protect your animals and a factsheet about Piroplasmosis.
List of Diseases that Require Notification
For a complete listing of diseases that must be reported to either the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection's Animal Health Division, or to the state office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Veterinary Services within ten days after finding evidence, please click on the DATCP Website Link.