USDA Study Finds Variable Requirements For Horse Health Care At Equine Events
by Kevin H. Kline, PhD
Animal Science Professor
University of Illinois
A USDA equine events study, entitled "Equine 2005" is the first of its kind, and was conducted by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) from January of 2005 through April of 2006. This study used data collected from six cooperating states (California, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, New York and Texas) and examined health management practices and requirements from equine events in these states. Over 3,200 equine events, including shows, roping, cutting, polo, fairs, rodeo, racing, trail rides, clinics, horse trials, etc. were identified in these six states and a sample of 252 of the events was used in the data set. The results of this study were recently released as an "APHIS Info Sheet" in June of 2007. The study found highly variable health care requirements and practices among the different states and types of events, which could affect the risk of transmission of infection diseases at these events.
One goal of the study was to determine the scope of equine events in some of the major equine states in the US, and the traceability of equines once they leave the events. The ultimate goal of the research was to provide information that could be used to help prepare for equine infectious diseases, should they occur in horses that attended various types of events. This study has not yet yielded specific recommendations for health care requirements at equine events, but several notable findings are summarized below.
The following is excerpted from the June 2007 APHIS Info Sheet:
For reporting purposes, events were defined by scope. For example, at events with a State scope all attending equids (horses, donkeys and mules) came from within State. Participating equids at events with a Regional scope came from within State and from outside State but not farther than adjoining States. For events with a National scope attending equids came from within State, from outside State, and potentially from outside the United States.
Some highlights from the Equine 2005 Events Study:
• The most common event type was show/trial (57.7 percent of events) followed by western event/fair/rodeo (21.9 percent of events). Race/polo events accounted for 6.1 percent of all events. Event types in the "other" category accounted for 14.3 percent of all events and included trail ride, endurance ride, training clinic, sale, auction, and shooting event. Events in Colorado and Texas had a higher percentage of western event/rodeo/fair events compared to events in most of the other States.
• For all events, an average of 151.0 equids were at the event on a typical day. The average number of equids at National events (240.9) on a typical day was higher than the average number of equids at Regional and State events (106.1 and 87.2, respectively).
• Overall, 57.1 percent of events did not require a health certificate for equids attending the event, while 20.3 percent required a health certificate for all equids, and 22.4 percent required a health certificate only for equids from out of State. A higher percentage of events in Kentucky had some type of health requirement compared to the other States.
• A higher percentage of National events (64.9 percent) had some health-certificate requirement compared to Regional and State events (35.1 and 24.9 percent, respectively).
• A higher percentage of race/polo events (57.9 percent) required a health certificate for all equids compared to show/trial events (14.5 percent).
• Overall, nearly two of three events (64.7 percent) required an EIA (Coggins) test for attending equids.
• EIA tests are often required for horses traveling interstate, and particularly for horses traveling between regions. Four of five National events (79.9 percent) required an EIA test for attending equids compared to State events (47.3 percent).
• Overall, 14.3 percent of events had some vaccination requirement for attending equids.
• A higher percentage of race/polo events (52.7 percent) required some type of vaccinations for attending equids compared to show/trial and western event/fair/rodeo events (11.8 and 6.5 percent, respectively).
Visit the NAHMS Web site at <http://nahms.aphis.usda.gov> for the complete Equine 2005 Events report as well as reports and information sheets on other NAHMS studies.