First equine piroplasmosis since 2009

Horse owners are on alert after equine piroplasmosis was found in a mare in Co Kilkenny.

A comprehensive epidemiological investigation revealed the mare was imported to Ireland in January 2019, and kept in a premises in Co Kildare before transfer to Co Kilkenny for foaling.

Her foal died, and the mare was transported back to the country of origin.

No evidence of disease spread has been found; horses she may have had contact with were traced and tested, returning negative results.

It’s the first case of equine piroplasmosis in Ireland since 2009.

Piroplasmosis is a tick-borne protozoan disease that gives rise to jaundice and anaemia in affected animals. It is not readily contagious and has no zoonotic implications, but is a notifiable disease.

Meanwhile, the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board has ruled that all horses racing in Ireland must be vaccinated with an equine influenza vaccine containing a Clade 1 representative every six months, with effect from January 1, 2020.

This follows the equine influenza challenge which emerged in February.

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