"We need to remember that it's still out there. With the more recent outbreaks, we have to understand that we're all vulnerable,"
says Karen Wolfsdorf, DVM, Dipl. ACT, at Lexington's Hagyard Equine Medical Institute.
"EVA is a preventable disease, and if we have the ability to test for it and to vaccinate for it, we need to use the resources
we have to try and eradicate it.
"One of the concerns is that EVA generally is accepted as being prevalent within the Standardbred population," says Wolfsdorf.
"We don't even go about pulling EVA's on Standardbreds anymore because it's just so recognized as being a widespread infection
within the breed. We need to try to combat the endemicacy of EVA in the Standardbred population because sometimes Standardbreds
are exposed to other breeds, infecting those breeds, transmitting it then from one to the other. The disease is still present
in non-Standardbred animals as well. It's really important to test breeding stallions of all breeds, and to further evaluate
semen for evidence of EVA."
"There has been a big problem over a recent EVA outbreak in France," says Holyoak.
"It started in Percherons and kept going from there. A stallion had to be euthanized, others were castrated and there were
neonatal deaths. The first thing the French did in their national stud program was to regulate all stallions used to provide
semen for artificial insemination. They closed that door in a hurry," Holyoak says.
"But the United States has just been slow to do so. The USDA has made recommendations, but with no teeth in them. If it (USDA)
wanted to, it probably could make a significant impact. I've made suggestions to the USAHA that they really should regulate
more tightly interstate transport of equine semen," says Holyoak. "If they would do that, they'd put some teeth into it."
To achieve tighter controls, Holyoak and Timoney have been pushing USDA and state regulators. "With the outbreak last year
and the problem in France this year, I believe it's more likely they'll start to listen," Holyoak says. "Not only via the
American Horse Council and AAEP, but through USAHA and its committees.
"We're going to be discussing EVA at the AAEP convention this year, so we'll push a little bit harder there as well.
"Everybody could do a little bit more," Holyoak advises. "It depends on how hard you want to beat the drum and for how long.
I think the tide of education is starting to turn. At least the American Quarter Horse Association is paying attention. They
have a forum for serological testing and have become a repository for information. I think we're taking the right steps, we
just need to continue. It's an equine-education, public-education situation, and articles such as this will help to carry
the banner a little bit further."
Ed Kane is a Seattle author, researcher and consultant in animal nutrition, physiology and veterinary medicine, with a background
in horses, pets and livestock.