Hendra in Australia, West Nile virus in the United States, and grass sickness in Switzerland. Equine diseases continued to cause their usual share of heartache and distress around the globe in the second quarter of 2008, figures in the last Equine Disease Quarterly reveal.
The usual suspects made their appearance in horses, such as West Nile and Eastern Equine Encephalitis in the United States, but there were also much rarer appearances, such as Hendra in Queensland and piroplasmosis in Florida.
The International Collating Centre in Newmarket, England, and other sources reported the following disease outbreaks:
- A single non-Thoroughbred horse in France and four non-Thoroughbred horses on two premises in Switzerland were confirmed positive for Contagious Equine Metritis (CEM). They included a Lipizzaner stallion recently imported from Hungary, a 3-year-old colt, and a recently castrated gelding. These animals had contact with three other stallions, of which a 5-year-old colt tested positive.
- As of August 26, the United States Department of Agriculture reported 119 cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis in the USA, the majority (80) in Florida.
- Abortions attributable to equine herpes virus-type 1 (EHV-1) were reported from Argentina, with sporadic cases on three premises; Ireland, 13 cases and two cases attributable to EHV-4; Japan, two cases on two premises; and the United Kingdom, three cases on three premises.
- Three EHV-1 abortions were diagnosed by the University of Kentucky Livestock Disease Diagnostic Centre during April, making a total of 13 in Central Kentucky for the 2008 foaling season. A single case of the paralytic form of EHV-1 was reported from the United Kingdom, which also reported EHV-3 Coital Exanthema in a Thoroughbred stallion, a donkey, and one other horse on separate premises.
- Germany reported one case of Equine Infectious Anemia in a horse that was subsequently euthanized. Three clinical cases of Equine Viral Arteritis were confirmed among three non-thoroughbred stallions on a single premise in France. Equine influenza was reported among thoroughbred and standardbred horses on five premises in France. Japan continued to report cases of equine influenza following the outbreak first reported in the summer of 2007, and cases were also reported from the United Kingdom.
- An unspecified number of cases of grass sickness among non-thoroughbreds occurred on two locations in Switzerland. Piroplasmosis was confirmed among 19 Thoroughbred breeding animals on one property in Turkey. Rhodococcus equi was diagnosed among an unspecified number of non-Thoroughbred animals in Switzerland during May and June. Strangles was reported from Denmark, France, Ireland, and Switzerland.
- Thirty-five cases of West Nile Virus infection were reported among the United States equine population in 16 states as of August 26, 2008, with five cases in California and nine in Washington.
- During July two separate outbreaks of Hendra virus infection were confirmed in Queensland, Australia. One was among five horses at a veterinary clinic near Brisbane. A veterinarian at the clinic who contracted the disease died on August 20, and two other members of the staff were hospitalised. Five horses died A second outbreak further north involved three horses. Clinical signs among affected horses included neurological signs not previously associated with the disease, including ataxia, head tilt, and facial nerve paralysis.
- During August a clinical case of equine piroplasmosis was confirmed on a Quarter Horse training and breeding farm in Florida housing 25 animals. Several premises were placed under quarantine.