Horse Health Alert: Equine Piroplasmosis Found in Two New Jersey Horses

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The following announcement is from the New Jersey Department of Agriculture. Equine Piroplasmosis is a contagious and very serious disease that can affect not only the horses that become infected but all horses in the state because of quarantines and interstate and international transport restrictions. If you live in the Northeast, please pay attention to this situation.

New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher today asked veterinarians and horse owners to watch their horses, donkeys and mules for signs of Equine Piroplasmosis, a disease transmitted to the animals by ticks and from horse to horse by contaminated needles.

Once infected, an equine can take seven to 22 days to show signs of the illness. Symptoms include: fever, anemia, jaundiced mucous membranes, swollen abdomens, and labored breathing. Infected horses also may have roughened hair coats, constipation, and colic. In milder form, the disease can cause equine to appear weak and show lack of appetite.

Equine Piroplasmosis is a reportable disease; therefore, anyone with knowledge of the existence or suspected existence of the disease must report this information to the Department of Agriculture within 48 hours at (609) 292-3965.

At this time, two of four New Jersey horses purchased from an infected herd in Texas in 2008 have tested positive for the disease. Additional testing on the imported horses and contact horses is underway. Quarantines have been placed on the affected premises and precautions implemented to prevent the spread of this disease to other horses.