Equine piroplasmosis confirmed in North Carolina, state veterinary officials report
Following confirmation by Ames, Iowa-based National Veterinary Services Laboratory, North Carolina veterinary authorities placed the infected horses and premises under quarantine while the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services investigates the source of the disease and whether it spread beyond quarantined areas.
State officials ordered no other interstate or intrastate movement restrictions on horses by August 20, 2010. Under law, suspected cases of equine piroplasmosis must be reported to the State Veterinarian’s Office.
North Carolina joins 19 other states that have identified cases of equine piroplasmosis in the past two years. Eradicated in 1988, the United States is starting to see more cases of the blood-borne parasitic disease.
Equine piroplasmosis is primarily transmitted to horses by ticks or contaminated needles. This disease is not directly contagious from one horse to another but requires direct blood transfer, state veterinary officials report. Human infection with equine piroplasmosis is extremely rare.
Horses with acute cases can have depression, fever, anemia, jaundiced mucous membranes and low platelet counts. Equine piroplasmosis can also cause horses to have roughened hair coats, constipation and colic. In its milder form, the disease causes horses to appear weak and show lack of appetite. Some horses become chronic carriers and show no clinical signs of the disease.