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National Equine Health Plan Roles and Responsibilities

 

The goal of the NEHP is to provide recommendations to industry, federal and state authorities, and tribes for a coordinated approach to disease outbreaks.  Assigning the roles and responsibilities of all sectors and stakeholders is essential to fulfilling the objectives of the NEHP. The following lists the roles for USDA-APHIS, state animal health officials (SAHO), veterinarians, and Equine Industry organization and individual stakeholders. The Roles and Responsibilities (R&Rs) are divided into the following components, which are essential for communications and coordination of disease prevention and mitigation.

 

 

 

 

Disease Prevention

USDA R&Rs -

  • Monitor foreign animal disease occurrences in other countries and conduct overseas risk assessments to determine disease risk of imported equines and equine products.
  • Utilize risk assessment data to formulate science-based equine import requirements.
  • Ensure imported equine products, such as semen and embryos, meet entry requirements established to protect the equine industry from the importation of disease. 
  • Facilitate the international movement of competition, exhibition, and breeding horses with flexible, science-based regulations which are appropriate for the level of disease risk.
  • Help resolve situations involving US horse shipments detained at foreign ports of entry.
  • Continually assess and revise the US “high consequence” disease list.
  • Physically monitor and inspect equids presented at the border and import centers to ensure freedom from contagious disease.
  • Continue risk-based testing of imported horses for diseases of concern such as Piroplasmosis, Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA), Contagious Equine Metritis (CEM), Glanders, and Dourine.
  • Require the removal from the US, enrollment in an approved treatment program, or euthanasia of all imported equines infected with an equine disease of concern to prevent the introduction or dissemination of disease.
  • Authorize activities related to inspection and exportation of equines within the United States.
  • Ensure timely and accurate verification and certification of equines which meet export country equine health requirements.
  • Develop methods which utilize current technology to facilitate the international movement of horses through electronic health certification.
  • Compile equine import data and provide timely reports to the destination state animal health official.
  • Provide clear, concise, timely guidance related to international movement requirements to equine importers and exporters.
  • Utilize scientific expertise within and outside the agency to encourage a coordinated science-based approach to equine disease control.
  • Maintain a veterinary accreditation program which certifies private practitioners to work cooperatively with Federal and State Animal Health Officials.
  • Provide oversight and continual monitoring of post-entry quarantine and testing for CEM.
  • Provide oversight of quarantine facilities to ensure the science-based disease prevention protocols are being appropriately implemented and all horses have appropriate husbandry and care.
  • Conduct reviews of state equine programs to ensure consistency and adherence to federal regulations.
  • Report changes in reportable diseases including risk, spread, outbreaks, and containment to the Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC).

 

 

SAHO R&Rs-

  • Develop a state reportable disease list pertinent to industry needs and updated with any changes. (Note: The decision to monitor a specific equine disease is made at the state level.)
  • Provide oversight to state animal health laboratories to facilitate the availability of appropriate equine disease diagnostics and timely reporting of test results.  
  • Maintain an adequate number of fully trained foreign animal disease diagnosticians.
  • Maintain the equine staff expertise necessary to guide science-based government policy decisions related to equine health.
  • Develop and maintain field staff expertise related to equine handling, sample collection, and disease risk assessments.
  • Maintain an interagency and public-private network that monitors/detects equine diseases and infective agents of concern.
  • Develop science-based equine health regulations and recommendations that are defensible, practical, and cost-effective.
  • Consider the economic impact to the equine industry of any regulation or recommendation related to equine disease control and eradication.
  • Continually evaluate equine entry requirements and revise as industry needs or disease threats warrant.
  • Provide clear, concise guidance to industry related to the interstate movement requirements of equines.
  • Maintain an electronic system to identify animals and animal locations for disease monitoring and traceback capability.
  • Establish communication and interact with industry stakeholder groups to include but not limited to
    • Breed organizations, discipline organizations, and Horse Councils;
    • State animal diagnostic laboratories;
    • Veterinary community: private veterinary practitioners, State Veterinary Medical Associations, State Veterinary Medical Boards;
    • Livestock youth organizations: Young Cattlemen’s, 4-H, Future Farmers of America;
    • Academia: Universities, Colleges, University Cooperative Extension programs, agricultural programs in high schools;
    • Local/County Agencies: Public Health Departments, County Animal Control, County emergency responders; 
    • Other State Government Agencies: Public Health;
    • Federal Agencies (USDA APHIS VS, USDA FSIS, USDA CVB, USDA Animal Care, FDA, USDA Wildlife Services, Department of Homeland Security).

 

 

Veterinarian R&Rs-

  • Maintain current knowledge of all aspects of disease prevention, monitoring, containment, mitigation, biosecurity, and business continuity.
  • Take part in educating horse owners and the industry about diseases and biosecurity.
  • Promote and encourage disease prevention to all horse owners.
  • Assist horse owners and event organizers in the development of disease prevention and infectious disease control plans.
  • Utilize cleaning and disinfection strategies between client visits.
  • Maintain complete individual horse records in an electronically searchable format.
  • Recommend isolation and diagnostic testing of all sick equines.
  • Encourage appropriate vaccinations for the prevention of equine diseases.
  • Accurately complete certificate of veterinarian inspection and laboratory tests required for legal interstate or international movement of horses.
  • Maintain veterinary accreditation for the issuance of certificates of veterinary inspection.
  • Maintain a working relationship with local, state and federal animal health officials.
  • Act as the first responder for endemic and foreign animal diseases.
  • Provide guidance and input to state and federal animal health officials regarding equine health issues.

 

Industry Stakeholder R&Rs-

  • Educate owners, breeders, trainers, managers, event organizers, shippers, and other individuals related to horse care and management about the need for biosecurity at a place of usual residence and when traveling.
  • Promote disease prevention to horse owners at the local, state and national level
  • Utilize electronic records for health monitoring, which includes animal identification, the name of vaccine/drug/medication/wormer product and date of administration, and basic horse vitals.
  • Implement disease prevention measures such as animal identification, record keeping, vaccination, cleaning and disinfection protocols, testing of sick animals, and isolation of sick animals.
  • Inspect equines prior to departure from the premises to ensure only healthy animals travel off the premises.
  • Abide by all movement health requirements.
  • Develop and implement a biosecurity plans unique to all events and locations.
  • Maintain a working relationship with local, state and federal animal health officials.
  • Regardless of their role in the industry, horse owners, breeders, trainers, managers, event organizers, shippers and others, have a responsibility to familiarize themselves with basic information on all of the major endemic diseases of horses and how these can be prevented and controlled. 
  • Aside from the attending veterinarians, the horse industry member also has a responsibility for ensuring that each of his/her horse or other equines have a permanent means of identification.
  • Support and utilize the Equine Disease Communications Center.

 

 

Disease Surveillance and Monitoring

USDA R&Rs-

  • Conduct periodic reviews and evaluations of equine disease surveillance systems.
  • Act as a repository of state equine disease data and provide summary reports for endemic and foreign equine diseases.
  • Provide national surveillance data for equine endemic diseases of importance such as WNV, EIA, EP, CEM and VS.
  • Ensure that all regulations concerning the import of horses and equine germplasm are in sync with those that the Canada Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has in place for the same diseases.
  • Monitor specific endemic and trans-boundary diseases utilizing electronic data systems.
  • Continually review and evaluate equine disease test results to identify disease risks.
  • Notify stakeholders of detection of foreign animal or emerging diseases.
  • Through National Animal Health Monitoring System Surveys continue to collect, analyze and disseminate data on equine health issues.  Ensure studies are designed to meet the informational needs of the equine industry.
  • Maintain FADD training.
  • Regulate and maintain a uniform standard for diagnostic tests.
  • Periodic review of import policies related to current disease prevalence and maintenance of business continuity.

 

SAHO R&Rs-

  • Encourage individual ID for all horses.
  • Monitor premises under hold order or quarantine.
  • Track reportable diseases within the state.
  • Review laboratory test data to identify equine disease trends.
  • Maintain equine disease situational awareness by monitoring disease trends/threats.
  • Monitor equine movements within the state to mitigate threats and more effectively respond to disease incidents 
  • Review border reports and incoming equine health certificates to ensure horses meet the equine health entry requirements.
  • Quarantine and require testing of horses which fail to meet equine entry requirements.
  • Conduct field surveillance activities related to equine disease control programs.
  • Survey and rapidly detect Foreign Animal Diseases and newly emerging diseases.
  • Conduct a foreign animal disease investigation within 2 hours of initial notification.
  • Ensure timely response to a detected equine disease threat.
  • Engage federal equine partners for aid in tracing and defining interstate disease transmission.
  • Report confirmed cases of reportable infectious diseases to the Center for Epidemiology and Animal Health (CEAH) and the Equine Disease Communication Center EDCC.

 

 

Veterinarian R&Rs-

  • Monitor equine disease prevalence within the geographic area.
  • Identify equine disease risk factors within the geographic area.
  • Request or perform appropriate diagnostic procedures to fully assess the clinical situation.
  • Monitor the effectiveness of preventative and/or therapeutic measures.
  • Keep retrievable medical records which can be analyzed during a disease incident.
  • Identify and report suspect cases of reportable diseases to appropriate authorities.
  • Recognize a potential introduction of foreign animal disease entry and immediately notify animal health authorities.
  • Understand the critical role private practitioners play in the National Comprehensive Equine Disease Surveillance System. (While reports from veterinary diagnostic laboratories, academic institutions, or equine clinics constitute the majority of veterinary surveillance data, reporting by veterinary practitioners to animal health regulatory officials of infectious diseases is an invaluable component of a comprehensive surveillance system.)
  • Report suspected reportable disease including foreign animal diseases to the EDCC.

 

Industry Stakeholder R&Rs-

  • Perform routine inspection of equines at home, during events or transport and report health concerns to a private practitioner.
  • Encourage owners to maintain knowledge of normal behavior and vitals for the individual equine.
  • Encourage owners to maintain individual equine health records to include vital signs, vaccinations, worming and overall health observations.
  • Encourage owners to notify private practitioners of any changes in behavior or clinical signs of diseases.
  • Report reportable diseases to a veterinarian or state animal health official.
  • Promote and provide educational opportunities for disease recognition and reporting.

 

 

 

Response, Containment, and Mitigation of Outbreaks

USDA R&Rs-

  • Develop general guidance and response protocols for the high consequence equine diseases.
  • Provide expertise to the states to assist in the development and implementation of a state-specific equine disease response and containment plan.
  • Identify and consider methods of delivery of countermeasures to address the significant consequences of transboundary equine diseases such as a vaccine for African Horse Sickness.
  • Upon request, provide personnel resources to support the state’s execution of an equine disease response plan.
  • Apply statewide or regional quarantines, when necessary, to control an equine disease outbreak.
  • Provide expertise to trace disease sources and spread as an aid in containment.
  • Provide timely reports to the international community of foreign animal disease incursions.
  • Participate in emergency skill drills, tabletops and exercises to maintain response skills and identify gaps in emergency response plans.
  • Provide real-time information about disease threats or outbreaks to the EDCC.

 

SAHO R&Rs-

  • Determine a uniform list of reportable diseases for each state and provide an updated list annually to the EDCC.
  • Diagnose and report equine diseases of significance.
  • Initiate quarantines and associated biosecurity measures.
  • Trace animal movements and location to determine the source of the outbreak.
  • Evaluate equine disease situations to determine the appropriate control measures to be implemented during the response.
  • Evaluate quarantine parameters and revise as indicated by the evidence of disease threat.  
  • Ensure appropriate legal authority for issuance of quarantine for control of equine disease outbreaks.
  • Provide information about protocols and limitations for outbreaks and quarantines to veterinarians and horse industry.
  • Maintain information technology systems to track animal disease testing and control measures implemented.
  • Develop and maintain State Emergency Standard Operating Procedures and Plans for equine diseases.
  • Conduct emergency skill drills, tabletops, and exercises to maintain response skills and identify gaps in emergency response plans.
  • Provide timely and accurate animal health information to industry.
  • Inform the EDCC of protocols and activities to contain and mitigate disease outbreaks.

 

Veterinarian R&Rs-

  • Report suspected reportable diseases to the appropriate animal health official.
  • Work with state animal health officials to monitor equine disease outbreaks. 
  • Direct stakeholders to sources of information and education, including the EDCC.
  • At the request of state and federal officials provide assistance during an equine disease response.  
  • Maintain a situational awareness of equine disease incidents and provide timely and accurate disease information updates to clients and the EDCC.

 

Industry Stakeholder R&Rs-

  • Report suspicious diseases to a veterinarian; increase biosecurity.
  • Adhere to all required disease control measures mandated by animal health officials.
  • Promote and provide educational opportunities for disease recognition, prevention, and containment.
  • Encourage implementation of recommended disease prevention and control measures, including a local site plan for initiating additional preventive measures during an outbreak.
  • Support and promote the EDCC as a way to provide information about diseases, the role of regulatory officials, and biosecurity.

 

 

 

Biosecurity

USDA R&Rs-

  • Communicate biosecurity messages.
  • Provide information about biosecurity for importation and a plan for an outbreak of a transboundary disease.
  • Maintain training in biosecurity for accreditation.
  • Utilize the EDCC as a resource to educate the industry about planning and implementing biosecurity.

 

SAHO R&Rs-

  • Conduct biosecurity risk assessments of equine facilities during a disease outbreak.
  • Assist with development of biosecurity recommendations/messages during a disease outbreak.
  • Communicate biosecurity messages.
  • Utilize the EDCC as a resource to educate the industry about planning and implementing biosecurity.

 

Veterinarian R&Rs-

  • Promote biosecurity for prevention of infectious diseases.
  • Recommend/initiate biosecurity during disease outbreaks.
  • Educate owners/industry on biosecurity.
  • Conduct biosecurity risk assessments and develop a biosecurity and infectious disease control plan for equine facilities (before a disease outbreak occurs).
  • Serve as a role model by practicing appropriate biosecurity measures during veterinary visits to farms, stables, and events.
  • Recommend and aid in developing a biosecurity plan for events and sites of horse gatherings.
  • Utilize the EDCC as an educational resource for members of the industry.

 

Industry Stakeholder R&Rs-

  • Provide educational programs, resources, and promotion to improve biosecurity.
  • Implement biosecurity protocols at all equine gatherings and events.
  • Encourage implementation of biosecurity recommendations.
  • Utilize the EDCC to obtain information about biosecurity.

 

 

Communication/Outreach/Education

USDAR&Rs-

  • Provide continuing education for regulatory officials related to Foreign Animal Diseases, diagnostic testing, and epidemiology.
  • Regularly review and revise equine outreach materials to ensure they give a clear message of disease risk, prevention, and control.
  • Maintain equine national websites for diseases of importance (i.e. EIA and WNV) and disease outbreaks (i.e. CEM and EHV-1 neurologic disease).
  • Coordinate education with the EDCC website.

 

 

 

 

SAHO R&Rs-

  • Provide continuing education to state animal health officials related to foreign animal diseases, diagnostic testing, epidemiology, equine diseases, and equine care and management.
  • Participate in training for recognition of transboundary diseases.
  • Attend local, state, and national equine meetings to remain current on issues, to analyze potential impact of developing policies on State’s equine industry, and to develop and provide input on state and national policies.
  • Conduct outreach and education for private veterinarians, horse owners/trainers, and allied industry stakeholders on foreign animal diseases, disease reporting, surveillance, biosecurity, and incident command systems.
  • Conduct workshops with field staff for developing emergency standard operating procedures related to disease risk assessment, biosecurity, cleaning and disinfection, movement controls, vaccination, and disposal if applicable.
  • Distribute timely updates and information related to disease outbreaks and disease concerns in the state including reports to the EDCC.
  • Develop and maintain an electronic notification system for state industry stakeholder announcements and distribution of outreach materials.
  • Regularly review and revise equine outreach materials to ensure they give a clear message of disease risk, disease prevention and disease control measures.
  • Maintain equine disease webpages.
  • Maintain a link to the EDCC website.

 

Veterinarian R&Rs-

  • Educate the equine industry about infectious diseases, disease prevention, and biosecurity.
  • Provide reliable data and information to clients related to equine disease incidents.
  • Establish plans for biosecurity and an outbreak response with managers prior to horse events.

 

Industry Stakeholder R&Rs-

  • Actively participate in and provide educational and outreach events.
  • Read and review information from reliable sources such as private practitioners, state or federal animal health officials.
  • Direct constituents to the EDCC website for links to educational materials.
  • Educate owners about infectious diseases, disease prevention, and biosecurity.

 

 

Diagnostics

USDA R&Rs-

  • Promote the standardization and validation of diagnostic modalities of regulatory importance.
  • Provide direct oversight to private laboratories conducting regulatory testing to ensure quality control of diagnostic modalities.
  • Continually encourage and support the development and validation of diagnostic modalities with high sensitivity and specificity for equine diseases of concern.
  • Conduct laboratory inspections to ensure adherence to science-based laboratory standards.

 

USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) R&Rs-

  • Provide diagnostic services, reagents, and training to industry and regulatory officials.
  • Provide timely and accurate laboratory support to private and state laboratories.
  • Maintain a well-trained and responsive staff.
  • Maintain recognition as an OIE reference laboratory for CEM, EEE, WEE, VEE, EIA, WNV, VS, etc.
  • Evaluate new diagnostic testing technologies and revise protocols and regulations in a timely manner to ensure the most efficient and effective testing modalities are utilized for disease prevention and control.
  • Evaluate new diagnostic tests and modalities for utilization in disease outbreaks.
  • Collaborate in the development and validation of diagnostic modalities with high sensitivity and specificity for equine diseases of industry importance.

 

SAHO R&Rs-

  • Collaborate with laboratories to determine the most appropriate diagnostic test and sample type for disease investigations.
  • Provide diagnostic testing guidance to private practitioners assisting equine disease control.
  • Promote the standardization and validation of diagnostic modalities of regulatory importance.
  • Communicate with private laboratories to encourage reporting of test data to state animal health officials for review and analysis.
  • Encourage research and validation into new diagnostic modalities for equine regulatory diseases.
  • Encourage and support the development and validation of diagnostic modalities with high sensitivity and specificity.

 

Veterinarian R&Rs-

  • Send samples to laboratories with completed laboratory submission form which includes time, location, and list of animals sampled.
  • Utilize appropriate laboratory submission forms and provide adequate history to ensure appropriate handling of samples.
  • Ensure proper sample collection, handling, and shipment according to recommended protocols.
  • Request and obtain guidance from each diagnostic laboratory as to the most appropriate diagnostic test and sample type for clinical situation.
  • Articulate to clients the value of diagnostic testing required by breed associations, a compulsory industry-initiated testing program, or interstate or international travel requirements.
  • Utilize diagnostic testing to determine the cause of clinical presentation.
  • Evaluate laboratory test results and clinical presentation to determine if additional diagnostics are required to definitively diagnose a disease.

 

Industry Stakeholder R&Rs-

  • Understand the value of diagnostic testing required by breed associations, a compulsory industry-initiated testing program, or interstate or international travel requirements.
  • Actively support diagnostic testing for equine diseases of importance.
  • Support sample collection and diagnostic testing to confirm the cause of clinical disease.
  • Be familiar with clinical signs which indicate the presence of an infectious disease.
  • Provide educational programs on the approach to diagnosing infectious diseases.

 

 

 

Epidemiology

USDA R&Rs-

  • Maintain a trained skilled equine epidemiologist who can be deployed during a disease incident.
  • Maintain general awareness of national equine demographics and international equine movement patterns.
  • Perform statistical analyses of national data and provide to states for evaluation and utilization in disease control plans.
  • Provide national guidance to equine disease surveillance and control plans.

 

SAHO R&Rs-

  • Maintain trained skilled equine epidemiologist who can be deployed during a disease incident.
  • Maintain general awareness of state equine demographics and movement patterns by discipline.
  • Maintain knowledge of equine breed or discipline management, competition, and exhibition practices within the state.
  • Maintain an understanding of state environmental conditions and their potential impacts on equine disease transmission.
  • Identify risk factors for disease spread and targets for prevention or control plans.
  • Provide evidence-based guidance related to disease containment to the equine incident decision makers.
  • Utilize statistics to evaluate the disease outbreak data and to determine appropriate countermeasures.

 

Veterinarian R&Rs-

  • Provide pertinent equine disease data to epidemiologists.
  • Assist in the collection of field epidemiologic data during a disease incident.

 

Industry Stakeholders R&Rs-

  • Provide requested equine disease data, including horse movement, horse contact, horse locations and horse’s medical history, to epidemiologists.

 

Business Continuity

USDA R&Rs-

  • Maintain a working partnership with the equine industry for the development of disease response plans with particular attention to business continuity.

 

SAHO R&Rs-

  • Maintain a working partnership with the equine industry for the development of disease response plans with particular attention to business continuity.

 

 

 

 

Veterinarian R&Rs-

  • Maintain a working partnership with regulatory officials and stakeholders in the equine industry for the development of disease response plans with particular attention to business continuity.

 

Industry Stakeholder R&Rs-

  • Maintain a working partnership with regulatory officials and private practitioners for the development of disease response plans with particular attention to business continuity.

 

 

Drugs/Vaccines

FDA Center for Veterinary Biologics R&Rs-

  • Regulate/Approve animal drugs, animal feeds, and veterinary devices.
  • Monitor the safety and effectiveness of animal drugs on the market and conduct research to ensure the safety for animal use.

 

USDA Center for Veterinary Biologics R&Rs-

  • Regulate veterinary biologics (including all viruses, serums, toxins, or analogous products of natural or synthetic origin) which are intended for use in the treatment of animals and which act primarily through direct stimulation, supplementation, enhancement, or modulation of the immune system or immune response.
  • Ensure pure, potent, safe, and effective veterinary biologics are produced and available for the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of animal diseases.
  • Approve Test Kits which meet standards for accuracy, precision, ruggedness, sensitivity, specificity, and range. Continue the Veterinary Biologics Pharmacovigilance Program for ongoing surveillance of adverse events associated with animal vaccines and other biologics, in cooperation with the veterinary profession and the veterinary biologics industry.
  • Encourage vaccine development to meet the needs of the equine industry.

 

SAHO R&Rs-

  • Through an efficient permitting system ensure an adequate and appropriate supply of approved drugs and vaccines are available to the equine industry.
  • Encourage appropriate use of drugs and medications for the treatment of illnesses and injuries.

 

Veterinarian R&Rs-

  • Ensure the appropriate use of antimicrobials, drugs, and medicines for the treatment of equine illnesses and injuries.
  • Report any adverse events associated with veterinary biologics to the USDA Center for Veterinary Biologics.

 

Industry Stakeholder R&Rs-

  • Adhere to veterinarian guidance when utilizing veterinary biologics.
  • Consult with an equine practitioner to determine the most appropriate use of veterinary biologics for the individual horse or group of horses.
  • Notify a veterinarian of any adverse events associated with veterinary biologics.
  • Use veterinary biologics in accordance with manufacturer labeled instructions.

 

 

Funding Needs

USDA R&Rs-

  • NAHMS studies.
  • Support EDCC via project or grant.

 

SAHO R&Rs-

  • Work with the equine industry to ensure financial support of equine health-related activities.
  • Identify possible resources for EDCC support.

 

Veterinarian R&Rs-

  • Identify equine industry research needs.
  • Support funding of the EDCC

 

Industry Stakeholder R&Rs-

  • Survey constituents to define the most important economic and health issues.
  • Continue to financially support research and equine health programs.
  • Support funding of the EDCC

 

 

Organizations

USAHA:  The United States Animal Health Association (USAHA): Equine Committee R&Rs-

  • Address and seek solutions to infectious disease issues that can compromise the health and welfare of the nation's equine population.
  • Continue to keep horse industry and other stakeholders informed of topical disease problems confronting the industry.
  • Ensure scientific discussion on equine health-related issues to ensure development of scientifically based strategies/solutions to protect the health of the equine industry.
  • Support uniform listing of reportable disease in each state.