The exportation of horses from New Zealand to Australia have been suspended as an imported mare has tested positive for equine piroplasmosis. This halt comes two weeks after the two countries had resumed the movement of horses after the COVID-19 lockdown.
Caused by a blood infection spread by ticks, infected animals that show symptoms generally have a high fever and poor appetite, are lethargic and have swelling in their limbs. They also typically have an enlarged spleen, a high heart rate and they become anemic. Some horses can die from the disease, but many will not show signs of infection. Animals that recover from the infection remain recessive carriers.
The disease is found in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America; the ticks in New Zealand do not carry the disease. Piroplasmosis affects the international movement of horses and causes economic losses. It is not possible for another horse to become directly infected with piroplasmosis, but it can be transmitted between animals through contaminated medical supplies like needles.
New Zealand authorities are hopeful Australia will lift the ban if it can be determined that this was an isolated case. Normally, to resume equine importation, Australia would require New Zealand to be free of piroplasmosis for three years. Australia is the largest importer of New Zealand Thoroughbreds.
Read more at HorseTalk.
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