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Horse industry organizations call for national program to track equine diseases

The National Equine Health Plan would help prevent the spread of infectious diseases in the horse population.

March 29, 2013

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Horses in field "The horse community is always just one step from a calamity and that calamity is a disease outbreak of such proportion as to widely imperil the health of our horses and threaten the economic viability of our industry."

So begins an open letter to the horse industry from the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) and the American Horse Council (AHC). In response to disease outbreaks in the horse population, particularly the Equine Herpesvirus outbreaks that have occurred in several states already this year, the two organizations have proposed a national system to help protect the equine population.

The letter explains that every disease outbreak costs the horse industry millions of dollars for biosecurity measures and lost revenues from canceled or restricted equine events. When outbreaks happen, the industry does respond, but the letter suggests that having a system in place beforehand would reduce the negative impact of disease outbreaks.

"It is time for the broader industry to be proactive in dealing with disease outbreaks with increased biosecurity, education, and a plan to immediately stop the spread of diseases. One of the best ways to contain any disease outbreak is to provide accurate and timely information about the current status of the problem and how to break the cycle of disease transmission."

The National Equine Health Plan proposed by the AAEP and AHC would create an Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) to serve as a central point for timely, accurate communication about outbreaks and other equine disease-related issues. A network of veterinarians and animal health officials would help reliable information reach all segments of the horse industry.

The EDCC will be one of the main topic for the AHC National Issues Forum in June.

To read the full letter and provide your input, visit

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Horse industry organizations call for national program to track equine diseases

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Reader Comments

EqDoc    Lexington, KY

4/1/2013 8:14:10 AM

Until then, try
You can find out whats in your area or whats going on where you may be traveling to.

h    h, HI

3/31/2013 11:16:13 AM


Gee and Haw    Northern Part, CA

3/31/2013 7:46:21 AM

The time to check your horse's health is before you leave home to attend shows/events.

PKL    Somewhere, WY

3/30/2013 6:30:29 PM

If there was only a way to check ahead of time, because most insect disease take a few weeks if not months to show up.

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