Tracking emerging and re-emerging equine diseases helps the horse world attempt to stay a step ahead of economically devastating and deadly outbreaks. For that reason, equine veterinarians and industry members gathered on June 14, for Merck Animal Health’s "Equine Emerging and Re-emerging Disease Luncheon" at the 2013 American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Forum in Seattle, Wash., to discuss which infectious diseases most concern leading veterinarians and researchers.

Wendy Vaala, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM, senior equine technical veterinarian with Merck, moderated the presentation and subsequent discussions, which covered equine coronavirus (ECoV), equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM), Lyme disease, equine influenza virus (EIV), and Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis (the bacterium that causes pigeon fever, also known as dryland distemper).

In addition to Vaala, presenters included Nicola Pusterla, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, of the University of California, Davis (UC Davis), School of Veterinary Medicine, and Amy Johnson, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM, of University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center.

Equine Coronavirus in Adult Horses: High Morbidity, Low Mortality

Pusterla started the luncheon by asking how many attendees had treated or seen cases of ECoV in adult horses, a RNA virus that causes respiratory and enteric (digestive tract) diseases. Only a few in the crowded room raised their hands.

Considering the equine form of coronavirus first gained recognition as a cause of disease in 2010, the sparse response didn’t seem to surprise Pusterla.

“But that doesn’t m