Missouri officials, FBI seeking two horses illegally removed from quarantine

The Missouri Department of Agriculture recently announced that two quarantined horses that tested positive for equine piroplasmosis were illegally removed from a Raytown, Mo. equine center, and a nationwide search has been initiated to find them.

On June 4, the Missouri Department of Agriculture was notified of a piroplasmosis-positive horse and immediately quarantined the Raytown Equine Center, placing all the horses at the center under 24-hour surveillance. Two of the horses were removed from the premises on June 10 after locks were cut from building doors and stalls.  

Equine piroplasmosis, a reportable disease in Georgia with no current cure, is a bloodborne disease only transmitted to horses by ticks and mechanically from animal to animal by contaminated needles.  Humans are at no risk of being affected by this disease.

 “The Department of Agriculture is working with local, county, state officials, as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to do everything we can to find these horses,” said Dr. Jon Hagler, director of the Department of Agriculture.  “We are asking anyone that has seen anything suspicious to notify their local authorities or the Missouri Department of Agriculture.”

Seven horses at the Raytowne equine center tested positive for equine piroplasmosis on June 9.  With consent from the horse owners, five of the piroplasmosis-positive horses have been euthanized.  

The two missing horses are seven year old bay geldings.  One horse, (Pico Chuko-tattoo #4112?) has a star on his forehead and a narrow white strip that widens toward the nostrils.  His microchip number is 035 512 889.  The other horse (Chaparo or Bonzai Bully—tattoo-#3222W) has a small white strip on left nostril.  His microchip is 035 349 596.  These horses are approximately 17 and 16 1/2 hands in height. 

An equine piroplasmosis-infected horse will show symptoms in mild forms such as weakness and lack of appetite. More acute cases include fever, anemia, jaundice, a swollen abdomen and labored breathing. Horses that survive the acute phase of infection may continue to carry the parasites for long periods of time.

For more information contact the Missouri Department of Agriculture at (573) 751-3377.

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