"Though never expecting to identify a foreign animal disease in a population of horses such as this, the Kentucky Department
of Agriculture, under leadership of Commissioner Richie Farmer, has spent considerable time and effort in planning for the
unexpected," says Ford. "This event demonstrates the efficacy of this planning and preparation."
"The (Kentucky) farm should be commended. The owners and staff have been very transparent, and worked well with the government
and their clients. Had they not done so, we might have seen a much worse situation," Linda Mettel, a veterinarian at the New
York State Animal Health Diagnostic Center at Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine, tells DVM Newsmagazine.
Still, veterinarians and anyone else who handles breeding mares or stallions, should follow strict hygienic practices, Mettel
She issued a news release listing basic practices that should be observed to help prevent the spread of CEM or other infectious
The United States has been considered free of CEM since the late 1970s. It is reported in about 25 other countries. The disease
usually causes temporary infertility and, in rare cases, abortions. It is transmitted during breeding or through artificial
CEM is treated with disinfectants and antibiotics. CEM-positive mares, and mares imported from CEM-postive countries, must
undergo treatment and remain in quarantine at least 21 days. Stallions infected with CEM or come from such countries must
be quarantined throughout a full treatment regimen and then test negative for the disease.
In Kentucky, prior to a stallion's being declared free of the disease, it must undergo a test breeding process that calls
for two mares to be bred, then cultured and test negative twice, Ford explains.
"Our investigation so far has found no evidence that the disease spread outside the identified populations; thus this event
will have no effect on our signature Thoroughbred industry or the 2009 breeding season," he says.