Lots of questions have been coming in lately as rumors circulate on the breeding and show circuits about new rules in certain states. What's required in one state may not be required in another...some states are changing their rules and some are not...or is it just that some are updating their web sites and some are not?
Once upon a time, we could grab a beat up copy of a Coggins test and hit the road. Those days are gone and, I suspect, the new rules are one reason why people read blogs like this one. You need to know when there is a disease outbreak. And while that outbreak may be a thousand miles away, it could affect whether or not you'll get to that show or barrel race this weekend.
Sound crazy? If you were in outer space and looked down on the horse traffic on US interstate highways, it would look like the busiest beehive in the meadow on a mid-summer day. At any regional show, you will find horses from outside the region who have hauled in to chase points or find a new owner or trainer. Those horses or those haulers may have been in a state with a disease outbreak. Their presence at a show is not a problem...unless or until there is a problem.
So states make rules. And while some of it seems to be "me too!" rulemaking, there are differences from state to state and one of the biggest differences seems to be how the rule changes are announced and made public. If you are leaving Florida for a series of shows in New England, can you reliably check all those little states' web sites for health updates? Let's hope so.
While researching this post, I found several large states whose regulations had not been updated on their web sites. Phone calls provided information that was current; if we had depended on the web site, we might not have been in compliance.
If you live in Maine or Oregon, you probably don't have to worry about vesicular stomatitis (VS) or equine piroplasmosis, but if you have been showing in Texas or Arizona, you might be challenged.
Take Michigan, for instance. Michigan is one of the largest states in the northern USA in horse population, and host to shows and events for virtually every breed throughout the summer months. On May 18, the Michigan Department of Agriculture announced new import regulations and posted them on their excellent web site. In addition to the Coggins test for equine infectious anemia and a 30-day health certificate, Michigan went on the defense against VS and equine piroplasmosis with these regulations:
? Equidae coming from any state in which there has been a diagnosed case of vesicular stomatitis in the past 12 months - the interstate health certificate or certificate of veterinary inspection must include the following statement:
"I have examined the animal/s listed on this certificate and have found no clinical signs of vesicular stomatitis. To the best of my knowledge, these animals have not been exposed to vesicular stomatitis within the previous 30 days, nor have they been vaccinated with a vesicular stomatitis vaccine."
Additional regulations include that Equidae coming from or originating from any state in which there has been a diagnosed case of piroplasmosis in the past 12 months shall meet the following:
? Have tested negative by c-Elisa or IFA to piroplasmosis within the past twelve months prior to importation. Horses that tested negative for equine piroplasmosis via CF are allowed entry provided the test was done within the past twelve months prior to importation and the test was performed on or before May 18, 2010.
? Be accompanied by an interstate health certificate or certificate of veterinary inspection that includes the following statement: "I have examined the animal/s listed on this certificate. At the time of the examination, the animal/s listed on this certificate is/are not under quarantine for piroplasmosis, not displaying signs of piroplasmosis, and either did not have evidence of live ticks or was/were successfully treated for ticks if ticks were present."
? An equine with ticks or evidence of tick infestation shall be treated with a topical pyrethroids or pesticide products registered with the United States Environment Protection Agency for the treatment of ticks in equine.
? Horses from premises currently under quarantine for piroplasmosis shall not be imported into Michigan.
Michigan is nowhere near Texas and Arizona, the two states most affected by the disease outbreaks, but Michigan is one of the states on the defensive. How much do you know about the states you're planning to drive to--or even through--this summer? It's also a good idea to check on basic requirements for horse trailers, which can change without notice sometimes.
Many thanks to all the states that are sending out press releases and keeping up their web sites!