Animal Disease Tracking Map Launched

Infectious disease researchers in Canada have launched an interactive online map designed to track diseases in dogs, cats, and horses around the world.
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Infectious disease researchers in Canada have launched an interactive online map designed to track diseases in dogs, cats, and horses around the world. The "Worms and Germs Map" can be accessed for free online.

For horses, the map will display reported incidents of anthrax, Eastern equine encephalomyelitis (EEE), equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1) abortion, EHV-1 myeloencephalopathy, equine infectious anemia (EIA), influenza, rabies, and strangles. The map can also provide information regarding when the case(s) were confirmed and, when supplied, how they were confirmed, whether the affected animal has a history of travel, and the affected horse's signalment (age, breed, sex, etc.).

The map was developed by Scott Weese, DVM, DVSc, Dipl. ACVIM, a professor in the Department of Pathobiology and Centre for Public Health and Zoonoses at the University of Guelph's Ontario Veterinary College, and Maureen Anderson, DVM, DVSc, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, lead veterinarian of animal health and welfare at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food.

"Infectious diseases continue to be a problem but we often have limited information about what is occurring where, and the information we do have is sometimes quite limited or questionable," Weese explained. "By having better information about disease occurrences, we can help educate the public about infectious diseases, let vets understand what diseases are occurring in their area, help vets make decisions about preventive medicine in horses that will be traveling, help vets think about diseases that horses may encounter when traveling, monitor the movement of some diseases that have expanding ranges (e.g., Lyme disease), track outbreaks, and more readily detect early changes in disease patterns or outbreaks

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Erica Larson, former news editor for The Horse, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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