Piroplasmosis Makes Horses Vanish

TheHorse.com reports that a third horse that tested positive for the reportable, foreign disease equine piroplasmosis (Theileri equi infection) was illegally removed from quarantine in Kansas... in June. Two other horses were broken out of quarantine shortly after they were diagnosed in June, and have yet to be found. These horses could be anywhere spreading this disease, and may result in the US losing its piroplasmosis-free status. The latest OIE report indicates that the third horse was reported missing the day after the other two horses. That's one more potentially infectious horse on the loose, and one more threat.

This appears to be a good example of what can happen when you combine recklessness, carelessness and stupidity (perhaps with a little bit of laziness on the side). Any effective quarantine needs to be properly implemented and monitored. Any breaches of quarantine need to be immediately identified, reported, investigated and communicated. I haven't seen any previous information about the missing Kansas horse; I can't find anything in earlier press releases or other statements. If this information was withheld, it shows pretty blatant disregard for effective communications. People need to know when there are disease threats. Knowing that a horse with piroplasmosis is on the loose is important because this horse has to have gone somewhere - possibly a public stable or other facility with other horses. If people knew a horse was broken out of quarantine one night and someone showed up at the barn with a horse the next day, they could ask some questions or call the authorities to help protect their farm and their animals. Without this information, they're helpless.

(Image source: www.funnyphotos.net.au)

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