Sexually Transmitted Disease

Many kinds of sexually transmitted diseases can affect horses; protect your stallions and mares from the most common offenders.
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Many kinds of sexually transmitted diseases can affect horses; protect your stallions and mares from the most common offenders.

The horse’s reproductive system is not perfect and often throws up roadblocks when we, as breeders, seek a live, healthy foal during a given year. There are so very many things that can go wrong. Despite the best efforts of scientists and researchers around the world, the overall success rate for mares becoming pregnant and carrying foals to term remains relatively low.

Included in the multitude of “things that can go wrong” are sexually transmitted diseases that raise an ugly head without warning, then stubbornly stick around long enough to frustrate an entire breeding season, or beyond.

Types of Problems

An example is contagious equine metritis (CEM), a disease that at one time wasn’t found in the United States, but at this writing it is alive and kicking, with a current outbreak costing horse owners money and causing concern.

Unfortunately CEM isn’t the only sexually transmitted disease that can strike. Also included in the lineup are equine viral arteritis (EVA), a disease that wreaked havoc in a segment of the Quarter Horse industry back in 2006; equine coital exanthema, a viral disease caused by equine herpesvirus-3; dourine, which at the moment is confined to South and Central America, the Middle East, and Africa; and bacterial assaults by Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Klebsiella pneumoniae

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Written by:

Les Sellnow was a prolific freelance writer based near Riverton, Wyoming. He specialized in articles on equine research, and operated a ranch where he raised horses and livestock. He authored several fiction and nonfiction books, including Understanding Equine Lameness and Understanding The Young Horse. He died in 2023.

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