The NC State College of Veterinary Medicine’s Equine Health Center at Southern Pines is expanding its quarantine services for contagious equine metritis.
Contagious equine metritis, or CEM, is a highly contagious sexually transmitted infection. The disease is carried by stallions and mares, but symptoms are only seen in mares, who typically experience inflammation of the uterus and cervix, as well as thick vaginal discharge. Mares are unable to conceive while infected.
Horses with a CEM infection must be quarantined. Federal law requires all imported breeding horses over 2 years old from any country known to have CEM go to a quarantine facility for testing and, if necessary, treatment. The requirement applies to both mares and stallions.
Each year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates some 2,000 horses enter the United States from overseas, where CEM is primarily observed.
The EHC at Southern Pines is the only CEM quarantine facility in the southeastern United States and one of only 22 such facilities in the country. It is one of just two quarantine locations run by a college of veterinary medicine.
Southern Pines has provided CEM quarantine services for more than 15 years. With a strong demand for CEM quarantine space and an impending move and expansion of equine services to NC State’s planned Reedy Creek Equine Farm in Raleigh, the EHC will now be able to accommodate a larger CEM quarantine caseload. The EHC has already increased the number of CEM quarantine cases it has seen this year.
Leading the effort is Mona Gardella, the facilities manager at Southern Pines. Gardella has worked at the EHC since the summer, and has a long history caring for and training horses.
A 1984 graduate of Morrisville State College (then known as the State University of New York at Morrisville) in horse husbandry, she has spent many years in the thoroughbred racing industry preparing young horses for the track. In 2002, Gardella started her own equine business, operating it for 15 years, most recently in Southern Pines, where she now lives with her husband who is also in the horse industry.
Southern Pines has five stalls, heated in the winter, with access to an outside paddock for CEM quarantine use. Gardella said that when the Reedy Creek facility opens in 2019, three additional stalls will become available for CEM quarantine.
For more information on the Equine Health Center at Southern Pines, call 910-692-8773 or go to cvm.ncsu.edu/nc-state-vet-hospital/equine/quarantine-facility.
~Steve Volstad/NC State Veterinary Medicine