American Horse Council Update
Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved its version of the FY 2017 Agriculture Appropriations bill. This bill provides funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for the 2017 fiscal year (October 1, 2016 through September 30, 2017). The bill contains several provisions that impact the horse industry, including the so-called “horse slaughter defunding provision,” funding for USDA equine health activities and enforcement of the Horse Protection Act.
FY 2016 House USDA Appropriations
Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) offered an amendment to prohibit funding for USDA inspections at U.S. horse slaughter facilities that was adopted by a voice vote. This prohibition will prevent horse slaughter facilities from operating in the U.S. if this bill is signed into law.
Currently, No horse slaughter facilities are operating in the U.S and a prohibition on funding for inspectors at such facilities from last year’s FY 2016 USDA bill is in effect until September 30, 2016. If that prohibition expires, USDA will be required to provide inspectors and horse slaughter facilities if any were to open.
A similar defunding amendment was adopted by the House Appropriations Committee when it approved the House version of the USDA appropriations bill.
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and Equine Health
The bill would provide $939 million for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). APHIS is the USDA agency responsible for protecting and promoting U.S. agricultural health, including responding to contagious equine disease outbreaks. Funding for Equine, Cervid, and Small Ruminant health would be set at $19.7 million, this is a $200,000 increase over FY 2015.
Horse Protection Act
The bill provides $706,000 for enforcement of the Horse Protection Act a $9,000 increase over FY 2016 funding.
The bill must now be approved by the full Senate.
We know that rumors about equine disease outbreaks are floating around, so we offer the suggestion that you rely on facts and updates from credible sources. In advance of the National Show and Youth World, we (always) encourage ApHC members to review past advice about bio-security best practices and, especially, to check with official sources of information about current equine disease cases. Reports of VS in Texas can be best monitored by visiting the TX Animal Health Commission website at: http://www.tahc.state.tx.us/. You’ve probably also heard of scattered cases of Equine Herpes Virus in rodeo/barrel horses. Most of the useful information about either disease and related “outbreaks” can be found by way of the professional vet-med channels such as your State Veterinarian and organizations such as the American Veterinary Medical Association and American Association of Equine Practitioners.
In case you hadn’t been made aware of “new” official USDA regulations, here’s a recent release from the American Horse Council regarding identification of horses involved in interstate transportation:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has instituted its Animal Disease Traceability Program (ADTP) to improve its ability to trace livestock, including horses, in the event of a disease outbreak. The new system applies to all livestock moving interstate.
Under the new federal regulations, horses moving interstate must be identified and accompanied by an Interstate Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (ICVI). The new system is built on methods of identification and movement documentation that are already employed in the horse industry, e.g., written descriptions, digital photographs, brands, tattoos, electronic identification methods, and interstate certificates of veterinary inspection. The person or entity responsible for moving the horse interstate must ensure that it has an ICVI or other document required by the new rule.
The ADTP will be administered by the states with federal support. The new rules also apply to movements to and from a Tribal area. In those cases, the Tribal authorities are involved in the system.
The new rule will be effective March 11, 2013. The American Horse Council expects that there will be a transition period during which USDA has suggested it will not enforce the new rule. This is to give livestock owners time to understand the rules and make any changes necessary to comply.
Under the new regulations, horses moving interstate must be (1) identified prior to movement and (2) accompanied by an Interstate Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (ICVI) or other state-approved document. All states now require an ICVI to accompany any horse entering their state. This should make for a smooth transition to the new traceability rule since most horse owners moving their horses interstate for breeding, racing, showing, recreation, etc. should already be in compliance with the provisions in the new rule.
Identification of Horses – Horses that are required to be officially identified under the new rules may be identified by one of the following methods:
•A description sufficient to identify the individual horse including, but not limited to, name, age, breed, color, gender, distinctive markings, and unique and permanent forms of identification, such as brands, tattoos, scars, cowlicks, blemishes, or biometric measurements. In the event that the identity of the horse is in question at the receiving destination, the state animal health official in the state of destination or APHIS representative may determine if the description provided is sufficient; or
•Electronic identification (Animal Identification Number) that complies with ISO 11784/11785; or
•Non-ISO electronic identification injected into the horse on or before March 11, 2014; or
•Digital photographs sufficient to identify the individual horse; or
•A USDA backtag for horses being transported to slaughter as required by the Commercial Transport of Horses to Slaughter regulations.
Exclusions to the new requirements – Horses used as a mode of transportation for travel to another location that return directly to the original location; horses moved from a farm or stable for veterinary treatment that are returned to the same location without change in ownership; horses moved directly from a location in one state through another state to a second location in the original state; or horses moved between shipping and receiving states with another form of identification or documentations as agreed to by the shipping and receiving states or tribes involved in the movement.
The complete text of the new regulations can be found at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-01-09/pdf/2012-31114.pdf
Source: Pfizer Animal Health news release
Pfizer Animal Health affirmed its commitment to innovation in equine health with the opening today of the Pfizer Animal Health Equine Research Center in Richland, Mich.
The center, the culmination of a $7 million investment, expands Pfizer Animal Health’s global research and development network headquarters in Kalamazoo, Mich., and will serve as the worldwide hub for research and development of equine vaccines and novel therapeutics.
“The dedication of the Equine Research Center builds on the $75 million investment in the renovation and expansion of Pfizer’s veterinary medicine R&D headquarters in Kalamazoo completed in 2009,” said Dr. Cathy Knupp, Vice President, Veterinary Medicine Research and Development, Pfizer Animal Health.
“The Center will support the work of a multi-disciplinary team of scientists committed to providing horse owners and the veterinarians who support them with truly innovative, best-in-class health solutions.”
The Center adds 24,000 square feet of research laboratory space as well as paddock and pasture facilities. It will serve as the U.S. equine research center of excellence for a multi-disciplinary team of scientists and specialists.
“Horses, like humans, are vulnerable to new outbreaks of prevalent illnesses such as equine influenza virus and Streptococcus equi as well as to emerging diseases such as Hendra virus,” said Dr. Paul Lunn, Ph.D., MRCVS, Dip. ACVIM, Professor and Head, Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University. “The Pfizer Equine Research Center will help answer the urgent imperative for much needed innovation to help horses live longer, healthier lives.”
According to Dr. Mahesh Kumar, executive director, Global Biologics Research, who will lead the vaccine development program at the site, Pfizer and Wyeth/Fort Dodge Animal Health set the standard for first-in-class equine vaccines such as the West Nile Innovator vaccine and Fluvac Innovator, the first vaccine against equine influenza virus. “The Center and its scientific team will serve as the engine for equine research, speeding the development of a next generation of equine vaccines and therapeutics,” he said.
Pfizer Animal Health invests more in research development – greater than $300 million annually – than any other animal health company.
The veterinary medicine R&D facilities in Kalamazoo, which include the research farm in Richland, serve as U.S. and worldwide headquarters for Pfizer Animal Health’s global R&D network of 15 sites across four continents. These include R&D centers in the United States, Canada, Brazil, Spain, Belgium, France, India, China, and Australia. Pfizer employs more than 800 veterinary R&D scientists and specialists worldwide.
USDA yesterday released its “final” situation report on Equine Herpesvirus (EHV-1). We like the way it reads: “There are no new cases and no new premises affected. Disease spread in connection with
this incident has been contained and no further situation reports will be generated.”
Oklahoma horse owners should take great relief that the EHV-1 outbreak has been contained. The entire horse industry should be commended for cooperative response in alleviating the disease threat. Due in part to the good communication between horse owners, facility and show managers, veterinarians and state health officials people were made aware of the situation and facilities were appropriately quarantined if necessary. One premise in Oklahoma is under quarantine from a confirmed EHV-1 positive horse that attended the Utah event. The horse is now normal and all remaining horses on the premise are healthy. No horses from this premise have attended an event in Oklahoma during the past few weeks and movement will be restricted until the situation is completely resolved.
Since the initial outbreak of EHV-1 at the National Cutting Horse Association’s Western Nationals Show in Ogden, UT from April 29- May 8, 2011, the disease has been contained to the greatest extent possible. The numbers available indicate that the spread of the virus has been contained. During the first week there were 86 suspect/confirmed new cases, the second week showed 62 suspect/confirmed new cases, the third week showed 10 suspect/confirmed new cases and the fourth week after the occurrence showed 0 new cases.
Horse owners should still be cognizant of the situation but also be aware of the facts regarding the virus. The EHV outbreak has only affected horses attending two events and horses directly exposed to that group upon returning home. The two events are the NCHA Western National Championship in Utah and the Kern County Cutting Horse Event in California. Affected and exposed horses in all states are under state quarantine or movement restrictions.
Acting State Veterinarian, Dr. Michael Herrin recommends horse owners and event managers remain at a heightened level of awareness, consider the current facts of the situation, and make an informed decision based upon actual risk. Events in Oklahoma that host horses of an unrelated type have no increased risk of disease exposure now than before this incident began. There have been no changes in import regulations and no recommended event cancellations issued by the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry (ODAFF).
The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry encourages horse owners to implement and practice proper preventative measures. ODAFF also encourages horse owners to consult their local veterinarian for review and advice on an appropriate vaccination schedules for EHV.
Many of you know Dr. Dave as our official veterinarian for the Chief Joseph Trail Ride. He shared a note that went out to his local clients regarding the EHV situation.
Note to horse clients: Some thoughts on the EHV 1 outbreak: May 19, 2011
The rumor mill is in overdrive. This is a disease we have lived with for a long time, it has appeared right here in our valley many times. Every time I see a horse with neurologic signs, it potentially has EHV1 till proven otherwise. Every time I see an aborted fetus, or a horse with a snotty nose, it is potentially EHV1 till proven otherwise. Due to the difficulty and non specificity of laboratory diagnostics, and our inability or reluctance to spend the money to get the diagnostics done on an animal that has either already died, or is obviously going to get better with conservative treatment, diagnostic tests are not always done in the real world. This is not a new disease, and the nature of the Herpes Virus makes it highly likely that your horse already has it.
You have all heard the saying, “Herpes is forever”. That is true. As you know, cold sores and genital herpes do not go away in people, even with all the medical efforts by our human counterparts. Shingles is a latent herpes infection that can becomes active in anybody who has ever been infected with the herpes virus that causes chicken pox. EHV in horses acts the same, once a horse has been exposed, he has it forever.
It is difficult or impossible to find a horse that is not harboring the equine herpes virus. The horse’s immune system keeps it under control until it either becomes immuno suppressed from stress (such as what happens after traveling cross country in a horse trailer, commingling with a bunch of other horses in a strange facility, probably eating unfamiliar feeds, breathing dusty air, and being asked to perform incredible feats of athleticism), or overwhelmed from the sheer number of virus particles in the environment.
The reason that this case is on the national radar is not that it is EHV1. We’ve had it here before many times; it didn’t even make the local paper. The reason it is on the national radar now is that it was traced back to a high profile show, and has potentially spread all over the country. It has exposed the very best seed stock in the Quarter Horse industry directly, and other breeds indirectly. It is probably no more deadly than the cases we have seen before that have already killed lots of horses; although there is a possibility it may test out to be a more contagious strain.
I have been getting many phone calls and questions regarding what we should do as a local community, and as individual horse owners. This is my advice (subject to change at any time, of course, as nobody has all the answers)
First, don’t panic. We’ve already ridden this path many times, and it will blow over. The chances that your horse will get EHV1 and die are miniscule. He has already been living with it his entire life.
Second, stay away from public horse events till this blows over. I see no problem with riding with friends or even on public trails; make an effort to avoid close contact with horses you don’t know.
As far as I know, no states have issued directives as of yet to restrict your freedom to move horses as you choose. However if it gets worse, restrictions from the state could be instituted. The best way to keep the state from taking control is for people to control their horses contact with other horses voluntarily. The chances of you picking it up at a local horse gathering or event is miniscule, but when you multiply miniscule by thousands of events across the state and country it becomes obvious that if people don’t take precautions, the disease is likely to spread.
As many of you know, the Washington State Veterinarian is Dr. Leonard Eldridge, a longtime Lewiston, ID veterinarian; and one of his assistants is Dr. Ben Smith from Juliaetta, ID. The last thing they want to do is issue regulations that will impair your ability to use your horses as you see fit; but if we don’t stop this on our own they have the authority to shut down all horse transport in the state.
Third, don’t feed the rumor mill. Check out information before passing it on. Most of us local veterinarians try to stay on top of current information; we are generally a good source. However if you want to get to the root of the best information, the following link will take you to the web site of every official State Veterinarian’s Office in the country. If you hear that something strange is happening in Texas (or any other state) click on the state, and check it out for yourself. If you don’t find the information you need, give them a call; they are paid to answer questions, and I have found them to be extremely helpful.
Finally and most importantly, continue to use and enjoy your horses. There are many horse activities you can enjoy that do not involve congregating large numbers of horses you don’t know and owned by people you don’t know. Going to the mountains, or trail riding with friends, or having a roping event or barrel race with friends is no more dangerous from an animal health standpoint today than it was prior to this outbreak, as long as you know the horses have not recently been to a large public event, or exposed to horses who have.
Good Luck, and Happy Trails,
David A. Rustebakke, DVM
Seems to be a wide range of information – and speculation – about the Equine Herpes Virus situation. It’s always a good idea to consider the collective wisdom of the professionals who probably have a better handle on the facts.
We’ve noticed the addition of several resources and links on the American Association of Equine Practitioners Web site, www.aaep.org. The “frequently asked questions” page and guidelines for horse owners might be especially helpful. There are also state-by-state reports and info from USDA as well as Cal-Davis and others.
Dear ApHC Members,
With reported cases of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) in some Western states, it is appropriate to be vigilant for symptoms of this disease which is contagious among horses (but not transmittable to humans).The Equine Herpes Virus can affect the respiratory, reproductive, and nervous systems causing a wide variety of diseases.
You may have heard about facilities being quarantined and events cancelled. The ApHC does not currently intend to issue any directive to regional clubs that would compel you to cancel approved shows, nor is there any consideration of cancelling the National Show/Youth World Show in Tulsa at this time. Along with other equine groups, we urge caution and extra care when introducing new horses to your facility, traveling to equine events and in observing the health condition of horses at home.
Visit the American Association of Equine Practitioners website for “infectious disease control” guidelines (www.aaep.org). There are also useful updates and resources available on the National Cutting Horse Association site, www.nchacutting.com . You may also want to monitor information coming from your State Veterinarian. We received an update/advisory from the State of Idaho with advice and precautions, so we’ll assume that most states are doing the same.
My name is Dr. Shana Gillette and I am a faculty member in the Clinical Sciences Department of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Colorado State University. I am the principal investigator on a study of equine infectious disease issues. Dr. Josie Traub-Dargatz, CSU Professor of equine medicine, is the co-principal investigator. As part of the study, we are conducting an online survey on infectious diseases of concern to the equine industry.
We hope you will be willing to alert your members to the importance of our online survey. It is important that we receive broad participation from all members of the equine industry for a fair representation of concerns regarding equine infectious disease issues.
We hope you and your association members can take a few minutes to fill out our online survey. It is available at the following link:
Completion of this survey is voluntary. People who decide to participate may withdraw consent and stop participation at any time without penalty. The survey will not ask for a name or email address, to ensure that all answers remain anonymous. Colorado State University will securely collect and store the data. The collected data will then be validated and analyzed and results will be published on the website for the Animal Population Health Institute at: http://www.cvmbs.colostate.edu/APHI
While there are no direct benefits to be gained to individuals who participate in this survey, we hope the equine industry will gain more knowledge on the primary equine diseases of concern. There are no known risks to participation.
If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Shana Gillette at (970) 297-5117 (email@example.com). If you have any questions about your rights as a volunteer in this research, contact Janell Barker, Human Research Administrator, at 970-491-1655.
Dr. Shana Gillette, Assistant Professor
Dr. Josie Traub-Dargatz, Professor
Thought this might be of interest:
To help horse owners feed their horses cost effectively and with confidence, Michigan State University (MSU) Extension is offering a free, live webcast Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. EST.
Aimed at garnering horse owners the most bang for their horse-feeding buck, the webinar “Nutritional Supplements for Horses” will feature Carey Williams, Rutgers University equine Extension specialist. She’ll discuss types of supplements, when supplements might be beneficial and how to determin if your horse needs a supplement. For more information or to register, go to noncredit.msu.edu.
My Horse University is a national online horse management program for horse enthusiasts. Based at MSU and founded by the MSU Department of Animal Science, MSU Extension and MSU Global, this program offers equine education courses and resources that can be tailored to achieve horse-management goals.
From a news release generated by the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, published in Science magazine and available in full at ScienceDaily.com
An international team of researchers has decoded the genome of the domestic horse Equus caballus, revealing a genome structure with remarkable similarities to humans and more than one million genetic differences across a variety of horse breeds. In addition to shedding light on a key part of the mammalian branch of the evolutionary tree, the work also provides a critical starting point for mapping disease genes in horses.
“Horses and humans suffer from similar illnesses, so identifying the genetic culprits in horses promises to deepen our knowledge of disease in both organisms,” said senior author Kerstin Lindblad-Toh, scientific director of vertebrate genome biology at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and a professor of comparative genomics at Uppsala University in Sweden. “The horse genome sequence is a key enabling resource toward this goal.”
In addition to sequencing the genome of a Thoroughbred horse, the researchers also examined DNA from a variety of other horse breeds, including the American quarter horse, Andalusian, Arabian, Belgian draft horse, Hanoverian, Hakkaido, Icelandic horse, Norwegian fjord horse, and Standardbred breeds. The team surveyed the extent of genetic variation both within and across breeds to create a catalog of more than one million single-letter genetic differences (called “single nucleotide polymorphisms” or SNPs).
In a first proof-of-principle of the power of trait mapping in horses, the researchers harnessed the SNP catalog to localize the candidate mutation in the Leopard Complex or “Appaloosa spotting,” in which horses’ coats are mottled with striking patches of white, either with or without colored spots. Horses carrying this trait often suffer from a form of night blindness, a disorder that also afflicts humans. The researchers narrowed the list of genetic suspects in horses to 42 associated SNPs, including two candidate mutations residing near a gene involved in pigmentation.
“This demonstrates the utility of the horse for disease gene mapping,” said Wade. “By making these resources freely available to the scientific community, we hope that many new results will flow from them in the coming years.”
CFIA has announced the introduction of import restrictions on horses and equine semen originating from the USA as a result of the current US outbreak of Contagious Equine Metritis. Horses and other equidae (asses, mules and zebras) will not require an import permit, but will require additional declarations on the health papers certifying that they have not been on a premises where Taylorella equigenitalis has been isolated during the 60 days immediately preceding exportation to Canada or a premises currently under quarantine or investigation for CEM; and that any female(s) in the shipment have not been bred naturally to, or inseminated with, semen from a stallion positive for CEM, or a stallion resident upon a positive premises or under quarantine or investigation for CEM. Additionally, the animals must not show any signs of CEM on the day of inspection.
Semen has different restrictions based upon the date of collection. Semen collected prior to December 15th 2008 does not require an import permit, but will require a U.S. Health Certificate that declares the date of collection, the identity of the donor stallion and the identity of the collection premises. Semen collected after December 15th 2008 will require an import permit (obtained from CFIA), and a U.S. Health Certificate with the declaration that the donor stallion(s) have not been on a premises where Taylorella equigenitalis has been isolated during the 60 days immediately preceding collection of the semen for export to Canada or a premises currently under quarantine or investigation for CEM; and that the semen was processed using an extender that contains antibiotics effective against /Taylorella equigenitalis/ . Semen presented for importation into Canada must be in individual receptacles or straws, each marked with the collection date, identity of the donor and the semen collection premises.
Embryos will require an import permit (obtained from CFIA), and a U.S. Health Certificate with the declaration that the donor mare(s) have not been on a premises where Taylorella equigenitalis has been isolated during the 60 days immediately preceding the collection of the embryo(s) for export to Canada or a premises currently under quarantine or investigation for CEM and have not been bred naturally or inseminated with semen from a stallion positive for CEM, or a stallion resident upon a positive premises or under quarantine or investigation for CEM; and that the flushing medium that was used to collect the embryo(s) contains antibiotics effective against Taylorella equigenitalis. Embryos presented for importation into Canada must be in sterile straws or pipettes, each marked with the collection date, identity of the donor and the embryo collection premises.
Import Permit applications can be obtained from the CFIA web site at
http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/anima/ heasan/import/ permit_covere.shtml
A single import permit costs Cdn$35, multiple use Cdn$60. Border inspection for semen will cost Cdn$35; horses (single) Cdn$25. Inland inspection of semen will cost Cdn$32 for 1-49 units, Cdn$51 for 50-499 units, incrementally increasing for more units. Canadian horses that enter the US and will be returning will now be given an extra page by the endorsing CFIA Vet. to go with the Canadian Export Health certificate, that must be presented to an accredited vet in the USA for completion, and must be be endorsed by a USDA vet before returning to Canada. Canada Border Services Agency will be looking for this document before allowing re-entry.
Additionally, semen and embryos will be subject to inspection upon importation, and consequently there will be restrictions in some cases as to point of entry to Canada. The
restrictions placed on entry of horses is implemented immediately, while the restrictions on semen and embryos will be implemented approximately January 26th 2009.
As it is not unlikely that there will be some initial confusion with these new requirements, we recommend that Canadian importers and/or US exporters in the near future contact CFIA and/or USDA-Aphis for confirmation of requirements prior to attempting border crossing.
By Drovers news source (1/21/2009)
Distillers’ grains have become a staple in some bovine diets, but a Kansas State University researcher is not recommending that they be used in horse rations.
“People have asked ‘can I feed dried or wet distillers’ grains with solubles to my horses?’” said Teresa Slough, equine nutrition specialist with K-State Research and Extension.
Given the information researchers have so far, Slough said she would not recommend feeding DDGS to horses. There has been little research done in feeding DDGS, a byproduct of the ethanol production process, to horses, she said. So far, the studies that have been done examined feeding DDGS for only a short period of time.
“There is no information available so far on the long-term effects of feeding DDGS to working horses, mares or foals,” she said.
The upside of feeding DDGS to horses is that they will eat it and, in fact, they like it, said Slough, who is an assistant professor in K-State´s Department of Animal Sciences and Industry. In addition, it is sometimes a less expensive source of protein.
But Slough warns that the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. “Horses are very susceptible to fumonisin poisoning from moldy corn. Fermentation during ethanol production doesn’t destroy the mold; rather it is concentrated.
“Feeding DDGS contaminated with fumonisin just once could cause death,” she said.
Another disadvantage, the researcher said, is that DDGS has a high phosphorous content.
“Unless the other feedstuffs in the horse’s diet are very high in calcium, the potential exists to create a diet inversed in its Ca:P ratio and negatively affect bone development,” Slough added. “This is of particular concern with broodmares and foals.”
DDGS has a high sulfur content, which also makes it problematic for horses. “Sulfur toxicity in horses, although rare, can result in colic, jaundiced mucous membranes, labored breathing, cyanosis and convulsions, followed by death,” she said. “The bottom line is, feeding DDGS to horses is not recommended unless it’s been tested for fumonisin and contains less than five parts per million, and then it should only comprise a small percentage of the total diet.”
by Dave Russell, Brownfield Network
As the number of horses testing positive for contagious equine metritis (CEM) nationally continues to grow, comes word from the Indiana State Board of Animal Health (BOAH) that CEM is not a “fix-it-yourself” disease.
BOAH has been receiving questions from horse owners who would like to treat their mares on their own without oversight or guidance from regulatory officials. BOAH equine director Dr. Tim Bartlett is discouraging that from happening saying it could negatively impact the nationwide eradication of the disease, which is why he recommends horse owners contact BOAH with questions and concerns.
“If not done properly, there’s always a risk that an individual animal may not be completely cured,” said Dr. Bartlett. “The USDA has a very specific testing and treatment protocol that must be met to ensure CEM is eradicated.”
Treatment has begun on all three stallions traced to Indiana, under the supervision of BOAH.