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USDA Studying Equine Industry in 2005

Editor’s Note: The following article comes from the APHIS web site at

The USDA’s National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) conducts national studies on the health and management of America’s domestic livestock populations. In 1998, NAHMS took its first in depth look at the U.S. equine population with the Equine ‘98 study.

The study included, but was not limited to, valuable information on the health and health management practices of the U.S. equine population, testing practices for equine infectious anemia, equine identification, infectious upper respiratory disease, colic, equine protozoal myeloencephalitis, causes of equine death, vaccination practices, and biosecurity on equine operations.

Multiple reports, information sheets, and scientific articles were generated from this study. Equine ‘98 reports and information sheets are available at:

Equine 2005 Study

Twenty-eight states are participating in the Equine 2005 study (see map). The study will consist of two separate components which will focus on equine events and on-farm health management factors relating to the control of equine infectious diseases.

The study’s event component began in spring 2005 at selected equid gatherings, sales, shows, or events in six of the 28 participating states (California, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, New York, and Texas). Up to 60 events from each of the six states are being surveyed. Information is gathered regarding:

* The scope (number and type) of equine events in the six states,

* The use of equid health documents at events as well as a description of age, origin, and vaccination history for attending equids, and

* The traceability of equids once they leave the selected events.

Equine event data is collected by veterinary medical officers via telephone or personal interview.

On-Farm Component

The on-farm component will begin in summer 2005. National Agricultural Statistics Service enumerators will contact a random sample of equine operations in the 28 participating states. This component of the study will:

* Focus on health practices that could impact the occurrence of equine infectious diseases,

* Determine health management factors related to control of equine infectious diseases, as implemented on-farm in the 28 states, and

* Compare relevant data collected in 2005 to data collected during the Equine ‘98 study. These comparisons will help identify trends in equine health management related to the control of infectious diseases and the economic consequences of selected equine diseases.

Controlling equine infectious diseases is important, as these diseases can result in lost use of the animals and in some cases death. There are many potential control points for preventing or minimizing the impact of equine infectious disease outbreaks. These include precautions that reduce exposure to infectious agents, optimize resistance if exposure occurs, and provide early identification of outbreaks, thereby limiting the spread of disease. (***Insert map***)

Data collected on individual operations will be summarized and used in regional and national estimates. As always, links between NAHMS data and operations where the data were collected are confidential.

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