Second Wisconsin Stallion Tests Positive for Contagious Equine Metritis; 42 States Now Affected

Posted by Fran Jurga | 26 January 2009 | The Jurga Report at

Bulletin from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture:

A second stallion quarantined in Outagamie County, Wisconsin has tested positive for contagious equine metritis, or CEM, a treatable reproductive disease of horses.

The National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa, reported the positive test result Thursday afternoon, January 22. The stallion, a 4-year-old Paint, has been quarantined since January 16, when state animal health authorities learned he had been at a Wisconsin artificial insemination center at the same time as another infected stallion from Outagamie County.

The Paint was one of 18 stallions quarantined because they had been exposed to that earlier reported CEM-positive stallion in Outagamie County. All are located in Wisconsin. In addition, 29 exposed mares are quarantined in Wisconsin because they have been exposed to CEM-positive stallions.

State and federal animal health personnel will examine the newly identified stallion’s breeding records and movement history to trace what mares may have been exposed via natural breeding or artificial insemination, and what stallions may have been exposed via shared artificial insemination equipment.

Nationwide, the CEM investigation now involves at least 383 horses in 42 states, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The outbreak began in mid-December, when a Quarter horse stallion on a Kentucky farm tested positive during routine testing for international semen shipment.

CEM is a contagious bacterial infection that passes between mares and stallions during mating. It can also be transmitted on contaminated insemination equipment. Stallions do not suffer any symptoms, but the infection causes inflammation in the mare’s uterine lining. This may prevent pregnancy or cause the mare to abort if she becomes pregnant. The disease is treatable with disinfectants and antibiotics.

CEM is considered a foreign animal disease in the United States. It was first discovered in Europe in 1977, and has appeared in the United States only twice outside quarantine stations where stallions are required to be tested and treated before being released into the country. In 1979, there was an outbreak. In 2006, three Lipizzaner stallions imported into Wisconsin from Eastern Europe tested positive after their arrival, but before they had been used for breeding.

More information about CEM is available on the U.S. Department of Agriculture website.




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