Equine Piroplasmosis Outbreak in 15 Wyoming Horses

The Wyoming state veterinarian’s office said 15 race horses have tested positive for Equine Prioplasmosis (EP). The state has the horses quarantined.

State Veterinarian Jim Logan said the horse disease is specific to race track activities and therefore is not a threat to the general equine population.

Infected ticks transmit the blood parasite, but it is more commonly spread by blood and blood products. It happens through the sharing of needles, syringes, or improperly cleaned and disinfected dental, tattoo, surgical, or blood product equipment between infected and uninfected horses.

According to the USDA, there have also been reports during disease investigations of non-veterinarians administering blood transfusions on horses to enhance performance.

Infected horses can not leave the state, but may be allowed intrastate movement.

“We are not concerned about horse to horse transmission of this disease,” Dr. Logan said. “The transmission risk of concern is from human (trainer/owner) use of contaminated equipment or product among horses.”

The disease is not a risk to human health.

EP was first seen in the U.S. in the early 1960s.

A federal initiative led to EP’s eradication by 1988, but cases began reappearing again in 2008. In response, U.S. officials are tracing the spread of the disease and working to stop it.