Veterinarians are testing some horses in Iowa that may have been exposed to a contagious disease that can cause temporary infertility in mares. C-E-M, or Contagious Equine Metritis, was first discovered in horse stallions in Kentucky. Iowa State Veterinarian Dr. David Schmitt says C-E-M is not a threat to humans, but it’s a disease horse owners and breeders want eliminated.
Schmitt says C-E-M doesn’t spread to stallions, but can cause abortions among mares. Infected horses can be treated with antibiotics. Twenty-two stallions at the site in Kentucky were used to artificially inseminate mares, before testing confirmed seven of the stallions had C-E-M.
Schmitt says horse semen from the Kentucky site was sent to 35 states, including Iowa. The "trace-outs" in Iowa involve 9 horses. Schmitt says each of those animals will be blood tested, cultured and treated. "We do have one good benefit in the fact that National Veterinary Services Lab is located in Ames," Schmitt said. "So, it works very well for us…in getting results."
To date, no Iowa horses have tested positive for the disease. According to U.S.D.A., nationwide more than 250 horses are being traced in connection to the C-E-M outbreak.