Follow AAEP Biosecurity Guidelines to Reduce Risk of Infectious Disease Transmission during Breeding Season

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The American Association of Equine Practitioners urges those involved in the breeding management of mares and stallions to reduce the risk of venereally transmitted diseases by utilizing the association’s “Biosecurity Guidelines for Control of Venereally Transmitted Diseases.” Developed in 2011 by the AAEP Infectious Disease Committee, the guidelines focus on controlling the transmission of equine arteritis virus (EAV), contagious equine metritis (CEM), and equine herpesvirus-3 (EHV-3).

Whether horses are part of a natural breeding program or an artificial insemination program, EAV, CEM and EHV-3 are highly contagious and have been shown to be transmittable between animals by direct horse-to-horse contact, contaminated semen, and also by indirect contact through the use of contaminated equipment and the personnel participating in the semen-collection process.

The guidelines provide recommendations for developing a biosecurity program for horses at a breeding facility, including the pre-breeding care of stallions and mares and protocols for natural breeding and artificial insemination.

“The horse industry has experienced a number of serious infectious diseases over the last four years, including an outbreak of contagious equine metritis (CEM),” said Linda Mittel, DVM, MSPH, Infectious Disease Committee chairperson for the AAEP. “CEM reemerged in late 2008 after being considered eradicated and was a devastating infection for the breeding industry, causing infertility, repeat breedings, as well as trade sanctions for semen and the shipping of horses. Biosecurity procedures are essential for all breeding activities in order to prevent future outbreaks.”

The biosecurity guidelines, along with the AAEP vaccination guidelines, are available at http://www.aaep.org/images/files/BioGuidelinesContofVenTransDis.pdf.

The American Association of Equine Practitioners, headquartered in Lexington, Ky., was founded in 1954 as a non-profit organization dedicated to the health and welfare of the horse. Currently, the AAEP reaches more than 5 million horse owners through its nearly 10,000 members worldwide and is actively involved in ethics issues, practice management, research and continuing education in the equine veterinary profession and horse industry.