A private training operation near New Mexico’s Sunland Park racetrack has been quarantined after a horse tested positive for equine piroplasmosis.
The New Mexico Livestock Board imposed the quarantine on Jovi Training Stables late on Friday. No horses are being allowed in or out of the Jovi facility.
The case is unrelated to the recent outbreak of equine herpesvirus-1 at Sunland Park, during which Jovi fell within the quarantine perimeter.
Equine piroplasmosis is a bloodborne disease transmitted by ticks, or mechanically via improperly sanitized syringes and the like. Mild cases can appear as weakness and lack of appetite. More severe signs include fever, anemia, weight loss, swelling of the limbs, and labored breathing. Death may occur in some cases.
Humans cannot catch the disease.
“It is important to keep in mind that equine piroplasmosis is nowhere near as transmissible as EHV-1,” the executive director of the New Mexico Livestock Board, Bill Bunce, said.
“Compared to the EHV-1 outbreak, we are looking at a vastly different scenario here.”
Tick-spread diseases are rare in the dry climate of southern New Mexico, Bunce said. “The chances are very good that we are looking at an isolated case.
“To ensure the disease is not widespread and to prevent further risk to the racing industry, we will be completing all regulatory testing and surveillance steps.
“That’s in addition to the quarantine that prevents horses from entering or leaving Jovi – meaning that during the quarantine period, no horses from Jovi will be admitted at Sunland Park Racetrack.”
Equine piroplasmosis is not considered endemic in the United States, but surveillance of the disease has increased in tandem with the increasingly international nature of horseracing. As such, the New Mexico Racing Commission requires that quarterhorses at sanctioned racetracks in New Mexico be tested for equine piroplasmosis every two years.
Racehorse owners who had horses at Jovi recently are advised to contact their veterinarian for medical questions and to contact the livestock board for quarantine questions.