Kentucky to begin piroplasmosis testing
Lexington, Ky. — Mandatory piroplasmosis testing will begin Jan. 1 for all Kentucky horse tracks. The decision, according to Dr. Rusty Ford, equine programs manager for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, was necessitated because some 550 horses in the United States tested positive for causative protozoa that result in equine piroplasmosis.
“Though the vast majority of cases have been discovered in Quarter Horses, there is growing evidence the disease is present in the Thoroughbred racing population as well,” Ford told Robert Beck Jr., the chairman of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, in a letter this month.
The ruling states that “all equine animals (racing and non-racing) seeking entry onto a race track in Kentucky must be accompanied with a certificate demonstrating the horse(s) was tested for piroplasmosis by a C-ELISA assay for both T. equi and B. caballi and reported to be negative.”
If a horse is not tested and verified, Kentucky race tracks are ordered to deny the animal entry.
The testing needs to be performed and documented by a USDA-approved and -certified laboratory. The test should be from a blood sample collected from the horse during the 12-month period preceding the animal’s entry onto the grounds, Ford adds.
The decision, Ford explains, also follows eight other state mandating piroplasmosis testing, including Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.