Miniature Horse Resource Guide

Return to Resource Guide Index

    Home   -  SALESBOARD

"The perfect horse in miniature"

Join the SmallestHorse Group and help us promote the 30" and under miniature horse.



Disclaimer: The information on this page is to be used as a guideline.  Some information comes from SHG Members, while other information comes from internet sources.  You are advised to always contact your veterinarian regarding any health issuesThe officers and members of the SmallestHorse Group are not responsible for the content.

Take Action to Protect Equine Health

Submitted by:  Charlotte Lupton - Reflections

News Release
 Texas Animal Health Commission
    Box l2966  * Austin, Texas 78711 * (800) 550-8242 * FAX (512) 719-0719
Bob Hillman, DVM  *  Executive Director
  For info, contact Carla Everett, information officer, at 1-800-550-8242, ext. 710,

For immediate release---       Take Action to Protect Equine Health
 Texas state veterinarian Bob Hillman offers a list for equine owners to consider when protecting their valuable stock:
1. Maintain a good relationship with your private veterinary practitioner
2. Ensure tests for Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) are up to date before hauling or selling horses
3. Control flies, mosquitoes and ticks
4. Don’t stall; call to report unusual signs of disease or pests in livestock
5. Register for a new “address”

 “A good relationship with your private veterinary practitioners crucial to maintaining healthy livestock,” said Dr. Hillman, executive director for the Texas Animal Health Commission, the state's livestock and health regulatory agency.  “Consult your private veterinary practitioner about having equine animals vaccinated against West Nile Virus (WNV), a “sleeping sickness” carried by birds and transmitted by infected mosquitoes.”  WNV disease was first detected in the U.S. on the East Coast in 1999, and by 2002, the disease spread to Texas.  Two WNV vaccines are available, and he credited vaccination and mosquito control for the decrease in Texas equine cases from nearly 1,700 in 2002, to 123 cases in 2004.
Dr. Hillman also urged owners to have equine animals vaccinated against other “sleeping sicknesses,” including Eastern and Western Equine Encephalitis (EEE and WEE).  Besides controlling mosquitoes, flies and other insects, he advised owners also to maintain fresh water supplies and to clean stalls regularly to reduce breeding grounds for mosquitoes and flies.
“If you’re selling your horse, or hauling it to shows, rodeos, trail rides or other assemblies, including breeding farms or stables, remember to have the animal tested for Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) every 12 months.”
Dr. Hillman explained that there is no vaccine, treatment or cure for EIA, which is transmitted by blood-to-blood contact from infected to ‘clean’ equine animals. Biting flies are most often the culprits in the disease cycle, because horse flies and deer flies have large mouthparts and carry and transmit small amounts of blood from one animal to another. EIA prevention includes isolating or euthanizing infected horses, and controlling flies.
“While some infected horses will become very sick, others may exhibit no signs of disease, yet carry the virus and pose a danger to ‘clean’ horses,” said Dr. Hillman.  To protect horses, TAHC regulations require a negative EIA test within the previous 12 months before horse are sold or hauled to events. An accredited private veterinary practitioner must draw a small blood sample from the animal. The test is then run at one of the more than 60 USDA approved laboratories in Texas.
“TAHC regulations require the EIA-infected animals to be euthanized, shipped to slaughter or a research facility, or be maintained in isolation, away from other horses,” he said. “Increased testing and strict requirements for the disposition of infected animals have paid off in reducing the number of EIA cases.“ More than 259,000 equine animals in Texas were tested in 2004, and 82 infected animals were detected. This is a dramatic decrease from 1997, when 750 infected animals were found.”
“Texas experienced an outbreak of vesicular stomatitis or VS in 2004. This blistering disease, on first glance, looks like foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), a highly contagious and dangerous foreign animal disease,” commented Dr. Hillman. “Both VS and FMD cause excessive slobbering, and blisters and sores in and around an animal’s mouth, above the hooves and on teats.  That’s why it is so important to have laboratory tests run to determine the cause of illness if cattle, pigs, sheep, or goats exhibit blistering.  VS, unlike FMD, also will affect horses.”
“Texas’ VS outbreak was limited to 15 premises in eight counties and ended in mid-October. In Colorado the outbreak was declared to have ended in early January,” commented Dr. Hillman. He explained that livestock are quarantined to their premises until 30 days after all lesions on affected livestock heal, a process that takes a minimum of two or three weeks. During that time, he said affected animals should receive supportive care, to prevent infection in open sores. 
“Resolve to stay alert and report unusual signs of disease or pests. This protects not only your own herd or flock, but all Texas livestock,” he said. Signs to be concerned about include widespread illness or unexpected death losses in herds or flocks. Make reports if animals develop blistering, staggering, or have unusual maggots or ticks.
“Along the Rio Grande, fever ticks have infested livestock on nearly a dozen premises outside the permanent “fever tick quarantine zone,” worrying the livestock and regulatory community. Fever ticks have the capability of carrying and transmitting the deadly blood parasite Babesia begemina that destroys the red blood cells of cattle. Known as ‘Texas Fever,’ this tick-borne illness of cattle was the prime impetus for the TAHC to be created in 1893 as the Livestock Sanitary Commission.”
Dr. Hillman explained that fever ticks were eradicated from the U.S. in 1943, but still are present in areas of Mexico. The narrow “permanent quarantine zone” along the Rio Grande in Texas is patrolled by about 60 USDA “tick riders” on horseback, who apprehend stray livestock crossing the Rio Grande, and inspect, dip or spray them to kill ticks. Owners can reclaim their stock for the cost of the feed bill. USDA tick riders also inspect, treat and issue permits for livestock to be moved from ranches that lie within the permanent quarantine zone, and also ensure that ticks are eradicated on infested premises.
 “TAHC field personnel also are trained to collect and identify ticks, as there is always a chance that fever ticks could be carried northward, or other dangerous foreign ticks could be introduced from other parts of the world,” he said.  “Tick and maggot collection kits also are available at no charge to producers, so these pests can be sent to the State-Federal Laboratory for identification.”
Dr. Hillman stressed that successful disease or pest eradication is a ‘two-step’ effort. The first step: detect and clean up an infected or infested herd or flock.  The second step: track animals that have been moved from the herd or flock, to determine if they spread the disease or pest to new sites.
 “Tracking livestock movement always has been the most frustrating aspect of disease eradication. In late 2004, premises identification was offered to Texas herd and flock owners, and it is the groundwork for implementing the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) in Texas,” said Dr. Hillman. The premises identification is a numerical version of an address, and so far, nearly 300 have been issued to producers and are being maintained on a confidential database.  Producers are encouraged to register online at the TAHC website at  Persons without computer access should call the TAHC at 1-800-550-8242, ext. 733, for a registration form that can be completed and mailed.
Eventually, as NAIS is fully implemented, animals being moved from their farm or ranch of birth will receive an individually numbered radio frequency ear tag, implantable ID device or a group number, depending on their species, explained Dr. Hillman. When animals are moved from their herd of origin, or “home place,” their personal number will be linked to the sites where they live or are commingled with other animals, including ranches, livestock markets, other facilities, and finally, the slaughter plant. Computerized “footprints” will give animal health regulatory personnel a “head start” in tracking diseased animals and which herds or flocks may have been exposed.  “Ideally, it could take minutes, instead of months, to determine where animals have been moved.  And, the sooner a disease outbreak is eradicated, the sooner producers can return to normal business,” he said.
 “It doesn’t matter which species or how many head of livestock you own,” said Dr. Hillman. “Resolve to keep disease out, control pests, stay alert and report unusual signs of disease. Stay in touch with your private veterinary practitioner and these actions could be your most cost-effective and beneficial livestock and flock management decisions.”


Copyright © 2000-2010 SmallestHorse Group, All Rights Reserved.