Horse Health

CEM Update

March 26, 2009

Get the latest figures on horses exposed to contagious equine metritis.

By Kristin Syverson with information from the USDA Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service

We recently received a report detailing the current state of the contagious equine metritis (CEM) outbreak.

As of March 10, 13 stallions have been confirmed by National Veterinary Services Laboratories as positive for Taylorella equigenitali, the organism responsible for CEM. Three mares have also been confirmed as positive.

CEM is a serious venereal disease, largely because it is highly contagious. Unfortunately, CEM can be difficult to detect and control. The recent outbreaks have raised particular concern because the disease has not been seen in the United States since 1979.

While CEM is an unusual disease to see in the United States, health issues like EPM, West Nile virus, HERDA, colic, laminitis and many others are not so rare. AQHA’s “Your Horse’s Health” DVD set brings you up to date on these potential problems and more.

CEM can be spread through live cover breeding, artificial insemination (download AQHA’s FREE Artificial Insemination fact sheet) and contact with used breeding materials. Since the disease is difficult to detect, it can be spread to several horses before anyone recognizes a problem.

Infected mares are typically infertile and in rare cases, may spontaneously abort. Stallions do not show clinical signs but can remain carriers for years. To prevent the spread of CEM, it is important to practice excellent breeding hygiene. Gloves should be changed between horses and instruments should be disinfected.

Horses confirmed positive: 16

Additional horses confirmed exposed: 635

States with positive horses: Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Texas, Wisconsin, California, Illinois

States with positive or exposed stallions: Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming

The exposure for most of the stallions has been their location at a breeding facility with at least one positive stallion. There are three additional exposed stallions still actively being traced.

Until the status of these stallions is confirmed, many breeders will feel axious and helpless. You may not always be able to control what your horse is exposed to, but you can control your ability to respond. Don’t be helpless: arm yourself with the information contained in AQHA’s “Your Horse’s Health” DVD set.

States with positive or exposed mares: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The exposure for most of the mares has been through articial insemination. There are nine additional exposed mares still actively being traced.

An exposed horse is one that was bred, either naturally or via artificial insemination, to a horse positive for T. equigenitalis, or one that is otherwise epidemiologically linked to a positive horse, as determined by state and federal animal health officials.

Keep up to date about “hot issues” from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. For more information, see the CEM fact sheet and the USDA’s import and export regulations page.

There’s Still Time: Go to QuarterFest on Our Dime!

Want to win a trip to AQHA’s QuarterFest: A celebration of America’s Horse May 1 – 3 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee? Well, Friday, March 27th is the last day to submit your entry!

In 200 words or less, tell us which tip on americashorsedaily.com you have benefited from most, and explain why. We’ll only accept one entry per person. The contest is open to AQHA members over age 18, and the winner will be notified by April 3.

The prize includes airfare to Murfreesboro from anywhere within the contiguous United States, hotel accommodations and event admission. Visit America’s Horse Daily for complete rules and to submit your entry.