The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) reported today an outbreak of equine piroplasmosis on a farm in New Mexico.
The source of the outbreak was deemed “unknown or inconclusive.” OIE noted that the reason for notification was due to a new strain of a listed disease. The casual agent in this case was Babesia caballi.
Equine piroplasmosis is a tick-borne disease that affects horses, donkeys, mules and zebras. The disease, which can also be caused by the parasite Theileria equi, is transmitted via tick bites or through mechanical transmission by improperly disinfected needles or surgical instruments, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, which worked with the New Mexico Livestock Board in conducting an epidemiological investigation of this event.
The B. caballi positive quarter horse was detected as a result of New Mexico’s equine piroplasmosis race track screening program, according to the OIE report. The National Veterinary Services Laboratory confirmed the positive result on June 14. The horse has since been euthanized.
OIE considers the event resolved and no more reports will be submitted.
In related news, the New Mexico Veterinary Diagnostic Services (NM-VDS) was recently approved by the USDA Veterinary Services to conduct testing for equine piroplasmosis for interstate and intrastate movement. This means that practitioners can now submit samples for testing to the VDS location in Albuquerque.
Click here for submission requirements.