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EP outbreak doesn’t include TWHs



By Sadie Fowler
 
A recent outbreak in Equine Piroplasmosis (EP) in Middle Tennessee has not been reported to include walking horses, although horses located in Bedford County are among the 22 horses that have tested positive for the blood parasite.
            
The State Veterinary Office is currently investigating the outbreak, which is not contagious to humans. 

It was reported on Nashville’s WSMV network this morning, May 21, that 22 horses in Bedford, Rutherford and Williamson counties tested positive for EP — with Quarter horse racing horses being the affected breed, all of which have been quarantined at this time.

While EP can be transmitted through ticks, it is most commonly spread by blood and blood products via needles, syringes and other improperly cleaned equipment. 

“It may take as long as 30 days for an infected horse to test positive for the disease after exposure,” the WSMV report said. “Early clinical signs can range from weakness and lack of appetite to swelling of limbs and labored breathing. Horses that survive the acute phase continue to carry the parasite for an extended period of time. Horses that test positive for the disease are quarantined and may be euthanized.”

Horses will not transmit the disease to other horses through casual contact, but veterinarians urge horse handlers to practice good biosecurity to ensure each horse’s health. If a needle is required, use a new sterile needle and syringe on every horse and clean and disinfect all equipment that may be contaminated with blood, the report states.

For more questions about EP, contact your local veterinarian.

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