Equine piroplasmosis | TSLN.com

Equine piroplasmosis

For the Nov. 21, 2009 edition of Tri-State Livestock News.

The subject of equine piroplasmosis is not going away. We’ve been talking about it here for a few weeks, and the latest news indicates the problem isn’t limited to Texas. Animal health authorities have now said 317 positive horses have been located – including 288 on the original south Texas ranch and seven on other Texas locations. Additionally, there’s five positive horses each in Florida and Louisiana; three in New Jersey; two in North Carolina, and one each in Minnesota, Tennessee, Georgia and Wisconsin. Authorities say, “All known positive horses are under quarantine and testing of all epidemiologically linked horses is ongoing.”

According to John Clifford, DVM, deputy administrator of the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), this has all been reported to the World Organization for Animal Health, Office International des Epizooties or OIE.

It’s disturbing to see this malady getting such a scatter within the U.S., since the disease was “officially eradicated from the United States in 1988.” For the last three decades officials here have screened all imported horses for piroplasmosis, which can be spread through the use of contaminated needles and or blood-contaminated semen from infected stallions, as well as by up to 15 species of ticks.

Geographically, it’s a long way from Texas to New Jersey, far too much distance for a tick to cover. Unfortunately, though, the two New Jersey equines that have tested positive for equine piroplasmosis were among four purchased in 2008 from the same ranch in south Texas that now has 288 horses tested positive! This points up exactly how vulnerable the equine industry is to disease because of interstate and international trading, breeding, and sporting, which speeds horses from point to point so rapidly today.

The New Jersey Department of Agriculture says, “Quarantines have been placed on the affected premises and precautions implemented to prevent the spread of this disease to other horses.” Furthermore, New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher asked horse owners and veterinarians to be vigilant for signs of equine piroplasmosis, which can include a host of nonspecific clinical signs, such as fever or anemia. This quest is complicated by the fact that some infected horses might appear well and blood tests are needed to diagnosis the disease; a malady for which the only treatment is a potent type of chemotherapy that can have serious side effects on some horses.

On a brighter note about horses, did your television show you the inimitable style of beautiful, amazing Zenyatta as she extended her unbroken win streak to 14 while winning the Breeders’ Cup Classic the first Saturday of this month? Her stately dance as she goes to the post, her charm and charisma as she receives the adulation of cheering, clapping, sign-waving fans, are breathtaking… but the way she runs is simply magnificent!

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Her connections had decided to go for broke and run the amazing filly against the boys, sending her to the gate in the $5 million Classic rather than having her just run with the girls in the Ladies Classic, which she won last year. When another entry, Quality Road, kicked his starting gate open just two slots away from Zenyatta and continued to raise a rukus and refuse to load, all the other horses had to leave the gate and later be reloaded to run. None of this flustered Zenyatta, who coasted in last place the first time past the stands, yet easily passed everyone as she came to the finish line the second time around – nonchalantly becoming the first filly ever to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

The big question in racing circles now is who will get the coveted “Horse of the Year” bid. That other fabulous filly Rachel Alexandra had a lot of votes before the Breeders’ Cup, but then became the only horse in racing’s Top 10 choosing not to compete in any races there. Zenyatta risked it all and definitely turned heads with her win, so she’s now riding at the top of the polls. As her owner so eloquently put it, “She is all heart.”

While we’re talking race horses, you’ll want to know gross sales were up for the Friday session of Keeneland’s November Thoroughbred breeding stock sale. According to http://www.bloodhorse.com, 244 horses sold this year compared to 201 last year and the session average of $83,605 was up 1.5 percent from last year; but the median of $60,000 was down 7.69 percent from last year.

“There is a sense of realism at this sale; it is much more consistent,” said Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland’s director of sales. “There is a lot more American participation and a number of different people buying horses. Those are good and healthy signs.”

“People have come to an understanding of where we are in this market,” Russell said, commenting on the not sold rate, which was down 46.13 percent on Friday. “The credit goes to the consignors in their appraisals. It’s a very difficult market, but consignors have obviously adjusted very well.”

Topping Friday sales was 9-year-old Danehill daughter Dancing Shoes, going to Horse France at $400,000. Bob Feld as agent for Sagamore Farm paid $380,000 for Royal Oak Farm’s 4-year-old daughter of Red Ransom, Vienna Affair. A half-sister to European stakes winners Crowded House and On Reflection, Vienna Affair is in foal to Rahy.

Time is flying by and the shopping days ’till Christmas are dwindling. True to my promise, I’m offering shopping tips… Most people love to read and a couple great books have just come into my possession that’d make dandy Christmas gifts.

Our dear friends Fritz and Ann Rehbein recently gifted us with a copy of WILD PLACES – WIDE APART by Melvin Arthur Anderson, a South Dakota author who has preserved a lot of regional history in a delightful style and format. His short stories are all page-turners that anyone interested in Tri-State Country would love to read, and they cover a wide scope. I have to thank Mr. Anderson for his special inscription to the book, wherein he says, “I am an admirer of your column and writing style.” I admire his writing style as well, and feel sure anyone on your Christmas list would enjoy a copy; or if reading isn’t easy for them you can choose the book on tape in the fine voice of Jim Thompson. The book is ISBN # 978-0-9776677-6-5, available by phoning Melvin A. Anderson at Wasta, SD, (605) 798-5141.

Our other wonderful new book is WAR HORSE – Mounting the Cavalry With America’s Finest Horses, a historic collaboration between Phil Livingston and Ed Roberts tracking the history and influence of the Remount program. Both authors are lifelong horsemen, and “once stood at the roadside watching the cavalry march by.” Phil was horse editor of Western Livestock Journal and editor of Paint Horse Journal and is the son of a career Army cavalry officer who served in WWI, WWII and the Korean War. Ed is an Oklahoma State University grad who developed the youth program of the Appaloosa Horse Club and served more than a quarter century as Executive Secretary of the American Paint Horse Association.

Their meticulous research along with in-depth writing enhanced by their personal firsthand knowledge of horses and horsemen, gives a birds-eye view of cavalry from its earliest beginnings and traces the Remount program from its inception through the genetic links that have positively and irreversibly imprinted American equine bloodlines across breed barriers. This beautiful book is a must for every horseman’s library – and even though it’s been out a couple years those on your list may not have a copy yet. It can be found at http://www.brightskypress.com or Bright Sky Press, P.O. Box 416, Albany, TX 76430.

I thank Phil for sending me this book, and cherish the inscriptions he and Ed provided; as well as Phil’s explanatory notes scattered throughout, giving valuable personal insight in many areas. It was my great privilege to spend time visiting with Ed at Frank and Loyce Holmes’ ranch near Kiowa, CO last summer; and I later had the joy of a long visit with Phil during the National Cowboy Symposium & Celebration in Lubbock, TX. I’m really proud and privileged to know both these fine authors and count them as friends, and I guarantee their book will be a hit on your Christmas gift list!

It’s time for my cowboy and me to wish you every blessing at Thanksgiving. May we all realize how fortunate and abundantly blessed we are, and give credit to our great God who makes it so!

The subject of equine piroplasmosis is not going away. We’ve been talking about it here for a few weeks, and the latest news indicates the problem isn’t limited to Texas. Animal health authorities have now said 317 positive horses have been located – including 288 on the original south Texas ranch and seven on other Texas locations. Additionally, there’s five positive horses each in Florida and Louisiana; three in New Jersey; two in North Carolina, and one each in Minnesota, Tennessee, Georgia and Wisconsin. Authorities say, “All known positive horses are under quarantine and testing of all epidemiologically linked horses is ongoing.”

According to John Clifford, DVM, deputy administrator of the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), this has all been reported to the World Organization for Animal Health, Office International des Epizooties or OIE.

It’s disturbing to see this malady getting such a scatter within the U.S., since the disease was “officially eradicated from the United States in 1988.” For the last three decades officials here have screened all imported horses for piroplasmosis, which can be spread through the use of contaminated needles and or blood-contaminated semen from infected stallions, as well as by up to 15 species of ticks.

Geographically, it’s a long way from Texas to New Jersey, far too much distance for a tick to cover. Unfortunately, though, the two New Jersey equines that have tested positive for equine piroplasmosis were among four purchased in 2008 from the same ranch in south Texas that now has 288 horses tested positive! This points up exactly how vulnerable the equine industry is to disease because of interstate and international trading, breeding, and sporting, which speeds horses from point to point so rapidly today.

The New Jersey Department of Agriculture says, “Quarantines have been placed on the affected premises and precautions implemented to prevent the spread of this disease to other horses.” Furthermore, New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher asked horse owners and veterinarians to be vigilant for signs of equine piroplasmosis, which can include a host of nonspecific clinical signs, such as fever or anemia. This quest is complicated by the fact that some infected horses might appear well and blood tests are needed to diagnosis the disease; a malady for which the only treatment is a potent type of chemotherapy that can have serious side effects on some horses.

On a brighter note about horses, did your television show you the inimitable style of beautiful, amazing Zenyatta as she extended her unbroken win streak to 14 while winning the Breeders’ Cup Classic the first Saturday of this month? Her stately dance as she goes to the post, her charm and charisma as she receives the adulation of cheering, clapping, sign-waving fans, are breathtaking… but the way she runs is simply magnificent!

Her connections had decided to go for broke and run the amazing filly against the boys, sending her to the gate in the $5 million Classic rather than having her just run with the girls in the Ladies Classic, which she won last year. When another entry, Quality Road, kicked his starting gate open just two slots away from Zenyatta and continued to raise a rukus and refuse to load, all the other horses had to leave the gate and later be reloaded to run. None of this flustered Zenyatta, who coasted in last place the first time past the stands, yet easily passed everyone as she came to the finish line the second time around – nonchalantly becoming the first filly ever to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

The big question in racing circles now is who will get the coveted “Horse of the Year” bid. That other fabulous filly Rachel Alexandra had a lot of votes before the Breeders’ Cup, but then became the only horse in racing’s Top 10 choosing not to compete in any races there. Zenyatta risked it all and definitely turned heads with her win, so she’s now riding at the top of the polls. As her owner so eloquently put it, “She is all heart.”

While we’re talking race horses, you’ll want to know gross sales were up for the Friday session of Keeneland’s November Thoroughbred breeding stock sale. According to http://www.bloodhorse.com, 244 horses sold this year compared to 201 last year and the session average of $83,605 was up 1.5 percent from last year; but the median of $60,000 was down 7.69 percent from last year.

“There is a sense of realism at this sale; it is much more consistent,” said Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland’s director of sales. “There is a lot more American participation and a number of different people buying horses. Those are good and healthy signs.”

“People have come to an understanding of where we are in this market,” Russell said, commenting on the not sold rate, which was down 46.13 percent on Friday. “The credit goes to the consignors in their appraisals. It’s a very difficult market, but consignors have obviously adjusted very well.”

Topping Friday sales was 9-year-old Danehill daughter Dancing Shoes, going to Horse France at $400,000. Bob Feld as agent for Sagamore Farm paid $380,000 for Royal Oak Farm’s 4-year-old daughter of Red Ransom, Vienna Affair. A half-sister to European stakes winners Crowded House and On Reflection, Vienna Affair is in foal to Rahy.

Time is flying by and the shopping days ’till Christmas are dwindling. True to my promise, I’m offering shopping tips… Most people love to read and a couple great books have just come into my possession that’d make dandy Christmas gifts.

Our dear friends Fritz and Ann Rehbein recently gifted us with a copy of WILD PLACES – WIDE APART by Melvin Arthur Anderson, a South Dakota author who has preserved a lot of regional history in a delightful style and format. His short stories are all page-turners that anyone interested in Tri-State Country would love to read, and they cover a wide scope. I have to thank Mr. Anderson for his special inscription to the book, wherein he says, “I am an admirer of your column and writing style.” I admire his writing style as well, and feel sure anyone on your Christmas list would enjoy a copy; or if reading isn’t easy for them you can choose the book on tape in the fine voice of Jim Thompson. The book is ISBN # 978-0-9776677-6-5, available by phoning Melvin A. Anderson at Wasta, SD, (605) 798-5141.

Our other wonderful new book is WAR HORSE – Mounting the Cavalry With America’s Finest Horses, a historic collaboration between Phil Livingston and Ed Roberts tracking the history and influence of the Remount program. Both authors are lifelong horsemen, and “once stood at the roadside watching the cavalry march by.” Phil was horse editor of Western Livestock Journal and editor of Paint Horse Journal and is the son of a career Army cavalry officer who served in WWI, WWII and the Korean War. Ed is an Oklahoma State University grad who developed the youth program of the Appaloosa Horse Club and served more than a quarter century as Executive Secretary of the American Paint Horse Association.

Their meticulous research along with in-depth writing enhanced by their personal firsthand knowledge of horses and horsemen, gives a birds-eye view of cavalry from its earliest beginnings and traces the Remount program from its inception through the genetic links that have positively and irreversibly imprinted American equine bloodlines across breed barriers. This beautiful book is a must for every horseman’s library – and even though it’s been out a couple years those on your list may not have a copy yet. It can be found at http://www.brightskypress.com or Bright Sky Press, P.O. Box 416, Albany, TX 76430.

I thank Phil for sending me this book, and cherish the inscriptions he and Ed provided; as well as Phil’s explanatory notes scattered throughout, giving valuable personal insight in many areas. It was my great privilege to spend time visiting with Ed at Frank and Loyce Holmes’ ranch near Kiowa, CO last summer; and I later had the joy of a long visit with Phil during the National Cowboy Symposium & Celebration in Lubbock, TX. I’m really proud and privileged to know both these fine authors and count them as friends, and I guarantee their book will be a hit on your Christmas gift list!

It’s time for my cowboy and me to wish you every blessing at Thanksgiving. May we all realize how fortunate and abundantly blessed we are, and give credit to our great God who makes it so!