Piro and VS: What Does That Mean to Horse Owners?

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Two diseases are making news in the U.S.–piroplasmosis in Missouri and vesicular stomatitis (VS) in Texas.

Why? Because piroplasmosis is considered a "foreign animal disease" in the United States. The U.S. government says we don’t have any natural reservoirs of piroplasmosis in the United States and has screened horses for 30 years to avoid having the disease become endemic in this country. It’s a tick-borne disease, and we do have the ticks that could carry it from horse-to-horse. It’s a disease that is difficult, if not impossible, to cure, with the treatment often causing debilitating illness in horses.

There was a piroplasmosis outbreak in Florida that was wrapped up in February, but there was no "horse-to-horse" transmission. During the investigation (the transmission was determined to be caused by humans), officials quarantined 25 premises and tested more than 200 horses for the disease. In all, 20 horses on seven premises were found to be infected with the organism that causes EP.

Vesicular stomatitis is an endemic problem in the United States, often popping up in western states. It doesn’t occur every year, or in the same locations. It’s not deadly, but it is highly contagious. Horses get blisters in their mouths, on their tongues and teats, and on the coronary bands of their feet. The blisters bust and are very painful as they heal

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