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 Contagious Equine Metritis Case - *** Updated***

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CVR
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PostSubject: Contagious Equine Metritis Case - *** Updated***   Thu Dec 18, 2008 2:52 pm

I thought this was very interesting. It's not something I've ever worried about as the US was supposed to be free of this disease. However now it's not. How many Arab mares are bred to QH stallions? This could get really messy.

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Contagious Equine Metritis Case Could Impact Horse Transport
by: Erin Ryder, TheHorse.com News Editor
December 16 2008, Article # 13281
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State and federal agriculture officials announced Dec. 16 that a Quarter Horse stallion standing at stud in Kentucky has tested positive for contagious equine metritis (CEM). As the United States is considered free of the highly contagious venereal infection (which can cause infertility and abortions, or can exist and spread subclinically), this raises two major issues: where did it come from, and will it affect equine transport, either interstate or internationally?

According to Rusty Ford, equine programs manager in the office of Kentucky State Veterinarian Robert Stout, DVM, the affected stallion is a 16-year-old Quarter Horse who came to a farm in Kentucky (the identity of which he cannot legally reveal) in February 2008, after being collected for breeding via artificial insemination in Texas. Twenty one other stallions, all Quarter Horses, stood at the Kentucky facility. The CEM causative organism, Taylorella equigenitalis, was discovered when the affected horse was examined prior to his semen being shipped to the European Union. All but eight of the stallions had shipped to other farms this summer, following the conclusion of the 2008 breeding season. One stallion had moved to another farm within Kentucky and the rest moved out of state.

USDA officials and state veterinarians are working to locate these horses, as well as 44 mares that were inseminated with semen from these stallions, for testing. Preliminary information puts the horses' owners in 18 states, but whether the horses are currently located in those states is one of the questions officials are working to answer.

In 1978, an outbreak of CEM in Kentucky shut down the Thoroughbred breeding season, costing the industry an estimated $1 million per day.Finding CEM-positive horses is not simple; T. equigenitalis can be present, undetected and causing no clinical signs, while the animal is infecting other horses. Kentucky's protocol involves culturing at-risk stallions (in this case, those that were on the index farm with the affected horse). Stallions that return negative cultures are then bred to two different test mares (who themselves are proven free of the organism through no less than three separate cultures prior to the test breeding). Following breeding, the test mares must be cultured at specified intervals. Ford stated that after a mare is covered, it will take a minimum of 35 days before officials can definitively state the stallion did not transmit the disease-causing organism to the mare. Ford said Kentucky is in the middle of culturing the mares to be used in the test breedings, which they anticipate will start in early January.
As for the affected horse, he's currently in treatment to eliminate T. equigenitalis from his system. Since the bacterium can hide in every nook and cranny of a stallion's genitalia, this involves both external and systemic treatment.

An outbreak of CEM in 1978 among Kentucky's Thoroughbred population shut down the breeding season. The cost to the industry was estimated at $1 million a day.

The potential effects go well beyond the breeding shed and the pocketbook. As a reportable disease, the CEM case could encumber, or even potentially halt, interstate and international transport of horses.

"We don't know what the reaction will be--I'm sure there will be some," said Stout. "It will be reported to OIE (Office International des Epizooties, or World Organization for Animal Health), and each country will probably react in its own way. We do know now that some shipments have been contained and others have been allowed to move."

According to Ford, a shipment of horses destined for Brazil had to remain grounded on Sunday--Brazil and Argentina both have regulations specifying that horses coming into the country had to originate from a country "free of contagious equine metritis." Ford said that USDA officials were in talks to change these requirements to specify horses from CEM-free premises so that exportation could resume. While not yet official, it is thought that Argentina is going to allow the premises rule.

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture has been in communication with other state veterinarians. At this time, no states have placed restrictions on Kentucky horses.

Ford said that since the primary route of transmission of the organism is venereal, and there's been limited opportunity for transmission as these stallions did not perform live covers, he does not expect to see major restrictions as a result of the case.

"Our opinion is that at this time--based on the epidmemiological information gathered thus far, we don’t recognize a need that would require other states or our trading partners to impose significant movement restrictions," Ford said. "This is supported by the fact that we have an identified population of horses we consider to be ‘at risk’ of having the opportunity of exposure, we have quarantined those animals, and are currently conducting diagnostic test to better define their individual disease status.

"And perhaps of as much importance in the decision-making process of these other entities is the fact that we have historically managed disease incidences effectively here in Kentucky, to protect not only our populations in Kentucky, but throughout the world. We will not risk jeopardizing those other populations, if there is a need--we, as we have in this incidence--identify and control the animals at risk of transmitting the disease until such time as we are satisfied the risk has been eliminated."

"The nation's industries as a whole have expressed concern over this, because this is an organism that is not known to exist in this country, and our objective is to find, or determine as best we can, how this animal became infected."
--Rusty Ford
Kentucky's Commissioner of Agriculture, Richie Farmer, and Gov. Steve Beshear have discussed the issue and its potential ramifications for the state's signature industry. According to Ford, "Both have expressed confidence in our abilities and have committed that we'll make every effort needed to minimize the impact this will have on Kentucky's and the state's industries."

As testing begins and authorities work to iron out regulation wrinkles, one major question remains: where did this come from? Other than two isolated Lipizzaner stallions in Wisconsin in October 2006, the United States hasn't reported CEM since 1997.

To investigators' knowledge thus far, the affected horse was not imported, nor were any of the other horses on the farm.

"The nation's industries as a whole have expressed concern over this, because this is an organism that is not known to exist in this country, and our objective is to find, or determine as best we can, how this animal became infected," Ford said.

http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=13281


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PostSubject: More stallions positive for CEM   Sat Dec 20, 2008 2:56 pm

More Stallions Positive for CEM; Federal Funds Requested

by: Edited Press Release
December 19 2008, Article # 13300 Print Email NEW! Add to Favorites RSS

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Two additional stallions bring the total to three positive for contagious equine metritis (CEM) on a single Central Kentucky farm. The stallions added to the list are a 13-year-old Quarter Horse and a 4-year-old registered with the American Paint Horse Association. The first recognized case, a 16-year-old Quarter Horse, tested positive on Dec. 10. The National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa, confirmed the diagnosis Dec. 15. The affected stallions and all exposed horses on the farm have been quarantined.



Testing was performed by the University of Kentucky Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center in Lexington. "The expertise available at LDDC greatly enhances our ability to respond both quickly and effectively to disease outbreaks," said State Veterinarian Robert C. Stout, DVM.



Watch a video interview on contagious equine metritis with Dr. Peter Timoney.
Play video
Commissioner Farmer is closely monitoring the investigation and has informed Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear of the progress of the investigation. The Governor has assured Commissioner Farmer that he understands the seriousness of the situation and has pledged to work with the Commissioner to address the matter.



"The state is acting aggressively to contain and mitigate this disease," Commissioner Farmer said. "Our interstate and international trading partners can be confident that Kentucky will employ all necessary resources to deal with this situation."



Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer has asked U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer to move quickly to declare a state of agricultural emergency and commit federal funds.

The request is a proactive measure to ensure that sufficient resources are available to manage the disease outbreak, Commissioner Farmer said.

"It is important for the people of Kentucky to understand that this could be a serious situation in our signature equine industry," Commissioner Farmer said. "The state is working with federal authorities to contain the outbreak and determine its source."



Kentucky's horse industry has a total estimated economic impact of approximately $5 billion a year. The horse industry generates an estimated 80,000-100,000 jobs, and another 14,000 jobs come from tourism businesses related to the horse industry. Kentucky farm cash receipts for equine, including stud fees, are estimated at $1 billion annually.



Contagious equine metritis is a transmissible, exotic venereal disease in horses. It usually results in infertility in mares and, on rare occasions, can cause mares to spontaneously abort. Infected stallions exhibit no clinical signs but can carry the CEM bacteria for years. CEM is commonly transmitted during sexual intercourse but also can be transmitted indirectly through artificial insemination or contact with contaminated hands or objects. CEM can be treated with disinfectants and antibiotics.

Read more about CEM.



http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=13300&source=rss
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PostSubject: Re: Contagious Equine Metritis Case - *** Updated***   Sat Dec 20, 2008 4:33 pm

That is a very interesting topic....it remains to be seen how much larger this problem really is, or if not, how widespread it can become if it remains undetected in the general equine population. Yikes!
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PostSubject: Re: Contagious Equine Metritis Case - *** Updated***   Sun Dec 28, 2008 3:43 pm

CEM Update - Canadian Breeders Heads Up!!
Semen Shipped to Canada from CEMO-positive Stallion in Kentucky

CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency - the Canadian equivalent of USDA) has announced that semen was shipped from one of the Kentucky-based stallions that tested positive for presence of the Contagious Equine Metritis Organism (CEMO) Taylorella equigenitalis to breed mares in Alberta and Ontario last spring. The mares have been quarantined and are undergoing testing to determine if there has been transmission of the bacteria. Although semen extenders commonly carry an antibiotic, that does not guarantee destruction of the bacteria, which could still be viable and infect the mare at the time of breeding.

While all parties involved in this outbreak are working assiduously to regain control and achieve complete elimination of presence of the bacteria within all contact animals, there is concern that the US may lose "CEM-free" status within the International community. Such a loss would prevent the free (non-restricted) passage of semen and horses into Canada, as well as less-restrictive testing requirements for export to other countries. Horses being exported to Canada would be likely to require quarantine with extensive testing and swabbing with results negative for the presence of Taylorella equigenitalis, and in the case of stallions test-breeding of two mares while in quarantine. Semen could only be exported from stallions that were standing at quarantine facilities and that had undergone the same type of testing. CFIA's current recommendation, made in the announcement on their web site is that "Until more information is available from the U.S.... the equine industry and importers in Canada exercise caution and refrain from importing breeding horses, embryos and semen from the U.S."
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PostSubject: Re: Contagious Equine Metritis Case - *** Updated***   Tue Dec 30, 2008 1:08 am

WOW, this is not good. I hope they do not give us any problems at the border. I travel a lot to shows in Region 18 because the H/J shows are closer than in my Region 16. Might just stay in the states if they do.
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PostSubject: Re: Contagious Equine Metritis Case - *** Updated***   Sat Jan 17, 2009 3:13 pm

California Among 39 States Testing Horses for CEM

by: Press Release
January 17 2009, Article # 13468 Print Email NEW! Add to Favorites RSS



California is among 39 states testing horses that might have been exposed to a highly contagious venereal disease of horses, contagious equine metritis (CEM).

California Department of Food and Agriculture veterinarians have quarantined 14 mares and are working with the USDA and regulatory veterinarians in other states to identify any additional exposed horses as this nationwide disease investigation unfolds. Following a course of negative cultures and treatment, the mares will be released from quarantine.

In mid-December 2008, a CEM-infected Quarter Horse stallion was detected in Kentucky during routine testing for international semen shipment.

The USDA and Kentucky animal health authorities quickly initiated a disease investigation, leading to the identification of more exposed horses. To date, nine stallions have been confirmed to be infected: four in Kentucky, three in Indiana, one in Wisconsin, and one in Texas; and a total of 334 exposed stallions and mares in 39 states have been identified and placed under quarantine by state animal health authorities, pending test results.

CEM is considered a bacterial foreign animal disease and has only been detected in the United States on three previous occasions, in 1978 in Kentucky, 1979 in Missouri, and in 2006 in Wisconsin. In all instances, the disease was controlled and eliminated quickly. CEM is not known to affect humans or other livestock. It is spread between mares and stallions during mating or with infected semen used in artificial insemination. It can also be transmitted on contaminated breeding equipment. Stallions do not exhibit any clinical signs, but the infection may cause fertility problems in mares.
Additional national CEM information may be found on the USDA's Web site.

http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=13468&source=rss
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