Texas Racing Commission Alert: Critical Tick Disease Control Effort - Equine Piroplasmosis

According to the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC), a tick-borne disease, known as Equine Piroplasmosis, has been confirmed on a ranch in Kleberg County in south Texas. All of the horses involved are working/cutting horses. The ranch is quarantined and a thorough invesigation is underway. TAHC is working with the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Inspection Services. to address the issue.

Equine Piroplasmosis can affect horses, donkeys, mules or zebras, and may cause clinical signs common to many diseases, including poor appetite and weight loss. It is incurable and requires quarantine.

At the present, TAHC does not believe race horses are at a high risk. However, because of the seriousness of the disease, the Racing Commission, the racetracks, and the Texas Horsemen's Partnership are working together, collecting information and assessing the best courses of action for the near and long term. Horsemen may consult their veterinarian for more information and specific recommendations.

Although the TAHC has only quarantined the ranch at this time, other states and countries are reacting to this very serious situation. Several states have imposed a variety of restrictions on horses leaving Texas, not just Kleberg County and/or the adjacent counties, Brooks, Jim Wells, Kenedy, and Nueces. Some states are requiring horses leaving Texas to have an original copy of a negative Piroplasmosis cELISA test that has been performed with the last fourteen (14) days along with a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection. If planning to ship out of Texas, you should contact the destination state to ensure your animals meet the current entry requirements.

Horsemen should monitor both the Texas Animal Health Commission website and the Texas Racing Commission (TxRC) website to obtain up-to-date information. As the racetracks' policies may change, you should also carefully check the overnight and the horsemen's information section of each racetrack for updates.

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