The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) will launch its third national equine study. Equine 2015 will take an in-depth look at U.S. equine operations and provide the industry with new and valuable information regarding trends in the equine industry from 1998 to 2015.

Study Focus

For the study, NAHMS asked equine owners, industry stakeholders and government officials to provide input and define the information needs of the equine industry. During this process, seven study objectives were identified:

  • Describe trends in equine care and health management for study years 1998, 2005, and 2015.
  • Estimate the occurrence of owner-reported lameness and describe practices associated with the management of lameness.
  • Describe health and management practices associated with important equine infectious diseases.
  • Describe animal health related costs of equine ownership.
  • Evaluate control practices for gastrointestinal parasites.
  • Evaluate equines for presence of ticks and describe tick-control practices used on equine operations.
  • Collect equine sera along with equine demographic information in order to create a serum bank for future studies.

From May through July 2015, representatives from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will contact selected equine owners in 28 states. Those states include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

NASS representatives will conduct personal interviews with all participating operations that have one or more equines and qualify as a farm, as defined by the 2012 Agricultural Census conducted by NASS.

For operations that choose to continue to phase II of the study, representatives from USDA’s Veterinary Services will visit from summer to mid-December 2015 to administer a second questionnaire. Respondents to this questionnaire may elect to participate in biologic sampling, including collection of blood and fecal samples, a tick exam, and collection of tick specimens.

Benefits Of The Equine 2015 Study

NAHMS latest equine study will provide current and scientifically valid estimates of management practices, disease prevalence, and other information important for trade and the health of the equine industry (e.g. benchmarking). In addition, information will be provided on trends in the implementation of equine health management practices and the antibiotic susceptibility of selected enteric bacteria. Participants will receive the results of an on-site biosecurity assessment and some of the biologic sample testing.

A Scientific Approach

NAHMS collects and reports accurate and useful information on animal health and management in the United States. Since 1990, NAHMS has developed national estimates on disease prevalence and other factors related to the health of U.S. beef cattle, sheep, goat, dairy cattle, swine, equines, poultry, and catfish populations. The science-based results produced by NAHMS have proven to be of considerable value to the U.S. livestock, poultry, and aquaculture industries, as well as other animal health stakeholders.

 To access previous NAHMS equine studies go to: