Choices

Do we have an obligation to our industry? Does our industry have an obligation to us? (Sounds a little Kennedyesque.) If your neighbor has a horse with strangles, would you expect him or her to tell you so you can protect your horses? If you had

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Do we have an obligation to our industry? Does our industry have an obligation to us? (Sounds a little Kennedyesque.) If your neighbor has a horse with strangles, would you expect him or her to tell you so you can protect your horses? If you had a contagious disease on your farm, would you tell your neighbors? If you had something that could help your neighbors’ horses, and it really wouldn’t cost you a thing to provide it to them, would you have an obligation to hand it over?


While these questions seem convoluted and turned upon themselves, there are valid reasons to raise them: CEM and EPM.


Contagious equine metritis (CEM) is a venereal disease that can reside in mares and stallions without causing symptoms, can be spread through the venereal route (breeding) and through improper hygiene and management, and in rare occasions can cause abortion. It is a highly regulated disease on the state, federal, and international levels. (For more information see The Horse.com’s CEM Update).


CEM is considered a foreign animal disease, but in recent months, researchers have discovered a possible “subspecies” of the organism residing in a few donkeys and mules in this country. These isolates have thus far been labeled “CEM-like” organisms. Maybe this organism does not cause disease–it just lives in the animals without causing any reproductive problems. Maybe not. No one knows at this point. Research is absolutely necessary to find out the answers

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Written by:

Kimberly S. Brown is the editor of EquiManagement/EquiManagement.com and the group publisher of the Equine Health Network at Equine Network LLC.

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