Thursday, March 4, 2010

New CEM Surveillance Testing Program

If you are into breeding at all, you are probably well aware of the recent ‘outbreak’ of Contagious Equine Metritis (CEM). That outbreak has pretty well been brought under control, though the USDA is still completing follow up testing on some horses. CEM is a sexually transmitted disease of horses that causes infertility in mares. Carrier stallions do not typically show any symptoms. CEM had been eradicated from the United States since the late 1970’s. The most recent outbreak was first detected in December of 2008 in a stallion in Kentucky. The USDA quickly took action to find any other infected horses. That action set off a cascade of testing and trace backs that affected just about every state. We dealt with several exposed mares and a couple of exposed stallions here in West Michigan. Through very thorough testing (maybe even a little over board) by the USDA, with the help of private practitioners, this most recent outbreak has been fairly quickly extinguished.

As a result of that outbreak, the United States is no longer considered free of CEM. The USDA is in the process of trying to do some surveillance testing to hopefully return us to a CEM free state. As a part of that program, the USDA is offering free testing of eligible breeding stallions. The ‘free’ part pays for laboratory and shipping costs. It does not pay for veterinary fees to acquire the samples and do the submissions. However, if you have a breeding stallion and want to be able to advertise him as CEM free, this program could save you a significant amount of expense. Please feel free to contact our office if you are interested in having your breeding stallion tested, or you can check out

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