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Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Confirms a Case of Contagious Equine Metritis (CEM) in a Non-Thoroughbred Stallion in the West of Ireland

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has announced that laboratory tests confirmed contagious equine metritis infection (CEM)  in a non-thoroughbred stallion at a premises in Co. Galway. The last case of CEM was notified in Ireland in 1982.

Routine pre-breeding testing has shown a positive result for the organism that causes CEM in a non- thoroughbred stallion. The stallion had not been showing any clinical signs of the disease. It had tested negative previously in 2009, 2010 and 2011. The other stallion on the premises, also a non-thoroughbred, has tested negative for CEM.  All other equidae on the premises are also non- thoroughbred.

The premises itself has been restricted and a full epidemiological investigation is now underway  focusing on the infected premises and recently inseminated mares. CEM infections are treatable with good outcomes and the infected stallion in this single case will be treated under veterinary control. There is no evidence that CEM affects humans.

Breeders and veterinary practitioners are advised by the Department to follow the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders' Association and Horse Sport Ireland's Codes of Practice and to ensure that all stallions, teasers and mares are specifically tested and cleared negative for CEM before they are used for any breeding purposes.

Note for editors

CEM is a notifiable venereal disease of horses in Ireland. Infection spreads through direct transmission of bacteria from mare to stallion or teaser (a non breeding stallion which is used to stimulate the breeding mare and find out whether she is in heat), or from stallion or teaser to mare at the time of mating or teasing. It is also transmitted to mares if semen used in artificial insemination (AI) comes from infected stallions.

Date Released: 30 April 2012