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Warmblood Import Nightmare

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  • Originally posted by Virginia Horse Mom View Post

    I hear you. I’m just repeating what the trainer’s comments on Facebook indicated about a lack of coverage. And someone way earlier on this thread mentioned the differences in the North American CFT vs European CFT could pose a problem as well with an insurance policy.
    The insurance angle may not be a dead end - would be interesting to see the actual policy and denial letter. Hopefully the family will seek some professional advice about the denial, and the merits of it.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by js View Post
      I would tend to agree that there is likely nothing wrong with the horse. The stress of the trip probably got him run down enough to spike a fever and have questionable blood tests but nothing positive. I don't think I would have issue with owning him.

      Is there a quarantine period prior to shipping or just a one time blood test for glanders? So horse tested negative in Europe with a better blood test for Glanders, then he some how contracted it in flight or even at the quarantine facility in the US. As the owner I would sue Jet Pet's for not have properly clean facilities at the shipping point, in the plane and even at the US quarantine facility. If the horse truly didn't have Glanders when he left then he got it from some thing or another horse enroute. Either there was a horse onboard that is a carrier or has Glanders but somehow tested negative or there was one at some point on the plane or at either facility where the horse contracted it. Have they retested any other horses that were on the flight?

      Maybe impossible to prove but the horse got it somewhere if the USDA is saying that is the case. I wish the owners would demand or could demand the European test be done here. Otherwise I would be looking to sue to recoup my costs claiming the horse was exposed inflight or at the facility in the US. Make them prove otherwise because he left Europe with a clean bill of health.
      I don’t think you understand how medical tests work.... there’s no such thing as a test that is always 100% correct all the time.
      Tests are characterized by sensitivity and specificity, and it is always a tradeoff. If you want a test to always catch every truly positive case, there will be some false positives too. If you want a test to never have any false positives, that means you are going to miss some of the truly positive animals (going to have false negative).
      For a serious foreign animal disease like glanders, the correct thing to do is require a test that is highly sensitive so that you never miss a positive horse, even if that comes at the expense of a rare false positive.
      That is why the USDA requires a certain test and you can’t just choose to use another test.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by caryledee View Post

        Importing from Canada doesn't have the quarantine requirements as importing from overseas.
        I was not aware of that, thank you.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Backstage View Post

          The insurance angle may not be a dead end - would be interesting to see the actual policy and denial letter. Hopefully the family will seek some professional advice about the denial, and the merits of it.
          That’s a good point.

          Honestly... the family should hire an attorney ASAP, and have the attorney advise from here on out about what to do. It sounded from comments like the attorney who advised on the two other highly publicized cases (Chapman Hopkins was his name I think...) got on the phone with either the trainer... or the client and the trainer... and offered some simple advice. Which is consistent with what everyone else has said.

          But the family needs their OWN attorney, (meaning no conference calls with this trainer, and the attorney ONLY represents the family’s interests) and they need one RIGHT NOW. It’s definitely worth every penny. Reviewing the policy and pushing back on the insurer is one of multiple things an attorney could advise them on, and hopefully help clarify for them.

          The comments I saw earlier about the policy excluding pre existing conditions were made by the trainer. So maybe she was the one who followed up on the insurance coverage questions... and if so... I think the family probably would be better served by an attorney handling those communications for them.

          Comment


          • Wasn’t going to add anything else here but couple of things are in my mind.

            First is the horse has come up positive repeatedly over the last 8 weeks. Test controversy aside, how often do false positives repeatedly keep showing up if they are really false? Something is off with the horse and has been for eight weeks. JMO but...? IIRC there were 21 other horses in that load and none showed a fever except him and none came up positive a week or so later on the retest so were released.

            The other thing is all the “ send him back” stuff. To WHOM whom would he be sent back to? Typically, you don’t buy a horse to import from an individual owner but from a dealer who sources horses for sale to present to US buyers in large groups so those buyers can see as many as possible. Often those buyers are not acting as individual buyers but as buyers authorized agent or they buy outright to resell to specific buyer clients or on the open market in the US. Eventual owner never sees it except in videos, sometimes, as here, eventual owners trainer never sees it either.

            After the horse leaves the dealers yard and ownership changes from dealer to buyer, it goes to a consolidator who makes up plane loads to ship and handles outbound health requirements as owners authorized agent. Horses may stay there for several days to several weeks waiting for space on the plane.

            This process can vary but that’s basically how it works for the majority of imports. These unfortunate folks have owned the horse since it left the dealers yard, least a week before it stepped on the plane. Recall reading somewhere somebody (dealer or consolidator ?)) did offer to accept delivery but no refund and only if they paid shipping. Let’s be clear what would have happened to the horses on arrival back there, he would have simply been put down. But it would have cost them another 10k, not whatever they are up to now. Even if they negotiate with JP and the vets, it’s going to end up more then that now.

            Europe treats horses and the horse export business as livestock. That is a big part of why they are less expensive. And they do have a bottom level to their marketing ladder over there we don’t have here and they are not afraid to cull and/or cut their losses.

            Don’t think there’s any blame here the horse has something going on, just a misplacement of trust and funds in the wrong person who was ill equipped to handle this tragic event or understand the consequences of what they loudly and publicly advised clients to do at clients expense. As a horse Pro, some decisions you have to make are really going to suck and properly advising client suck even worse. Best protection is really knowing, trusting and understanding any process you advise clients to undertake. Something not reflected here.

            That said, there is some hanky panky on the other side too, heard some things, personally know of one whose clean PPE x rays were found to be of another horse several months after arrival and it wasn’t the only one. So, the import game is not one for novices, even if they are Pros in other phases of the horse business.

            There might be a lawsuit here but the family needs to hire their OWN-attorney, preferably not one recommended by trainer. And they need to SHUT UP on FB. Surprised if anybody actually really has hired one, they’ve let that FB mess continue instead of trying to remove most of it. Or maybe they have and it’s more bad advice on top of bad advice they are paying for

            ETA, OK, will say what I’m sure others are thinking. 35k landed on the a West Coast is on the low end of import prices but close to, if not more, then the annual income for many. Think around 55k is now the median income for a family in the USA. Really hope the adults plastering all this on social media doesn’t come back on this 15 year old for being a rich kid” and translate to contempt instead of commiseration.
            Last edited by findeight; Jan. 21, 2020, 11:37 AM.
            When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

            The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by findeight View Post
              Wasn’t going to add anything else here but couple of things are in my mind.

              First is the horse has come up positive repeatedly over the last 8 weeks. Test controversy aside, how often do false positives repeatedly keep showing up if they are really false? Something is off with the horse and has been for eight weeks. JMO but...? IIRC there were 21 other horses in that load and none showed a fever except him and none came up positive a week or so later on the retest so were released.

              The other thing is all the “ send him back” stuff. To WHOM whom would he be sent back to? Typically, you don’t buy a horse to import from an individual owner but from a dealer who sources horses for sale to present to US buyers in large groups so those buyers can see as many as possible. Often those buyers are not acting as individual buyers but as buyers authorized agent or they buy outright to resell to specific buyer clients or on the open market in the US. Eventual owner never sees it except in videos, sometimes, as here, eventual owners trainer never sees it either.

              After the horse leaves the dealers yard and ownership changes from dealer to buyer, it goes to a consolidator who makes up plane loads to ship and handles outbound health requirements as owners authorized agent. Horses may stay there for several days to several weeks waiting for space on the plane.

              This process can vary but that’s basically how it works for the majority of imports. These unfortunate folks have owned the horse since it left the dealers yard, least a week before it stepped on the plane. Recall reading somewhere somebody (dealer or consolidator ?)) did offer to accept delivery but no refund and only if they paid shipping. Let’s be clear what would have happened to the horses on arrival back there, he would have simply been put down. But it would have cost them another 10k, not whatever they are up to now. Even if they negotiate with JP and the vets, it’s going to end up more then that now.

              Europe treats horses and the horse export business as livestock. That is a big part of why they are less expensive. And they do have a bottom level to their marketing ladder over there we don’t have here and they are not afraid to cull and/or cut their losses.

              Don’t think there’s any blame here the horse has something going on, just a misplacement of trust and funds in the wrong person who was ill equipped to handle this tragic event or understand the consequences of what they loudly and publicly advised clients to do at clients expense. As a horse Pro, some decisions you have to make are really going to suck and properly advising client suck even worse. Best protection is really knowing, trusting and understanding any process you advise clients to undertake. Something not reflected here.

              That said, there is some hanky panky on the other side too, heard some things, personally know of one whose clean PPE x rays were found to be of another horse several months after arrival and it wasn’t the only one. So, the import game is not one for novices, even if they are Pros in other phases of the horse business.

              There might be a lawsuit here but the family needs to hire their OWN-attorney, preferably not one recommended by trainer. And they need to SHUT UP on FB. Surprised if anybody actually really has hired one, they’ve let that FB mess continue instead of trying to remove most of it. Or maybe they have and it’s more bad advice on top of bad advice they are paying for

              I assumed the people who import regularly and have made GOOD connections in Europe probably stipulated in the sale contract that of the test deemed worthy by the USDA comes back positive the seller agrees to take the horse back. At least that is how I imagine it would work. Again I don’t know. I can’t fathom importing a horse as I’m content buying OTTBs. Competitively showing isn’t my thing any more.

              I feel this non-horsey family trusted a novice importer and now has a big bill.

              I will say too, not that the trainer thought this, but there is a notion that military people have $$$ even within the military itself. I can’t tell you how many times people have said to me, “well you’re X rank you should be able to pay for all of us.”

              I can also say I have a good idea of the father’s base salary and that by no means puts them in the affluent category. It would, if it’s a single income household, put them solidly middle class IF they didn’t live in California.

              I applaud the family for trying to give their daughter every chance possible to succeed in the sport. I’m still really put out by the trainer.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by findeight View Post
                Wasn’t going to add anything else here but couple of things are in my mind.

                First is the horse has come up positive repeatedly over the last 8 weeks. Test controversy aside, how often do false positives repeatedly keep showing up if they are really false? Something is off with the horse and has been for eight weeks
                It's probably cross-reacting to some other organism. The test they're using is very sensitive but doesn't have the highest level of specificity (specific only to the infective agent in question).

                From the few comments of people who seem to have some familiarity with similar cases, I'm guessing sending it back immediately as not meeting US entry requirements was the best advice. But that's such a hard decision to make in the moment, it's a personal horse not a business, and for sure the family assumed he'd just test negative next time... or the next... or...
                Proud Member Of The Lady Mafia

                Comment


                • Originally posted by BK6756 View Post

                  I don’t think you understand how medical tests work.... there’s no such thing as a test that is always 100% correct all the time.
                  Tests are characterized by sensitivity and specificity, and it is always a tradeoff. If you want a test to always catch every truly positive case, there will be some false positives too. If you want a test to never have any false positives, that means you are going to miss some of the truly positive animals (going to have false negative).
                  For a serious foreign animal disease like glanders, the correct thing to do is require a test that is highly sensitive so that you never miss a positive horse, even if that comes at the expense of a rare false positive.
                  That is why the USDA requires a certain test and you can’t just choose to use another test.
                  Good points.
                  I wonder, though, which tests were available at the time the regulations were enacted.
                  There was a period of time where the only EIA test accepted for export to Canada from the US was the AGID, and not the ELISA because the ELISA did not exist when the regulations were drawn up.
                  Not that it would help here, but looking forward, it might be worth looking into regulatory updates.
                  "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                  ...just settin' on the Group W bench.

                  Comment


                  • I suspect that the returned to Europe Plan B /"bottom level marketing" might not be an option here, as glanders is a potentially zoonotic disease, and it just isn't worth the risk.
                    "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                    ...just settin' on the Group W bench.

                    Comment


                    • If some one has expertise, please answer. Do these tests work by detecting antibodies or the virus? If it is antibodies, is it possible the horse was exposed and developed antibodies well before import? That it is not infected or contagious, but has antibodies?
                      I agree this isn't "just" a false positive if he has consistently popped a positive.
                      I had an active Rocky Mountain fever case from a tick but the tests also showed an old Lyme infection, all through antibodies.

                      Comment


                      • Ehhh....never imported myself, like domestic horses better for my needs. But being in a big barn that did 10 or so twice a year for most of the 17 years I was there, some shipping to that barn others that trainer picked that shipped to other barns, I learned if I ever did import, despite owning, buying, selling, showing for self and others at times since 1970? I’d go to a well known trainer importing frequently with my shopping list but not buy the specific horse from that trainer until it’s landed and released over here. Preferably have 2 or 3 to look at, Yes, pay them up front for their time and pay a slightly higher price but not take ownership until it’s here.

                        The most frequent importers have the best contacts who provide the best service. And those frequent importers look at a couple hundred horses EACH buying trip. They also have the best network over here to sell them. That's who you want to deal with even if you can find cheaper providers.

                        Not to sound hard hearted here, it’s a kid and losing a new horse but it’s not the $1200 dead cat or free puppy that ran up hundreds before dying of distemper . It’s what probably started as a 20k horse that has run up another 20k in expenses, will keep running that up each day it’s still with us and going to cost at least another couple of grand in Euth and cremation.

                        Yes its terrible for the kid but at some point, hard choices need to be made and any Pro giving advice needs to be brave enough to tell them the truth about the eventual fate of the animal, not drag it and the ever enlarging bill out for months and sharing their lack of competence with all of cyberspace,

                        Honestly, losing so much over the budget is liable to hurt that 15 year old more then the loss of a beloved pet. Horse hasn’t enjoyed much quality of life either, even if shipped back to be put down there ir put down here weeks ago, it would have been a better decision. And the decision those who import many horses yearly would advise and make themselves much earlier then at 8 weeks and repeated positives.



                        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                        Comment



                        • It's a sad case for all involved. But who among us hasn't lost a boatload of money on a horse?? I've bought one that then tested positive for piro and lost a small amount of money in the transportation & board of it while it was still in Europe. Imported another that was far greener than advertised and spent purchase price again trying to train it up, only to sell at a loss. And that's just on my imports gone wrong, saying nothing of the horses I've purchased here who have not worked out or colicked or ...

                          This is not a business for the faint of heart of for those trying to make or save money, and I don't believe that it's right for the trainer to go running to GFM to cover losses, however unfair or sad they may be. Most of us are, I think, struggling to afford this thing that we love, and we aren't expecting others to clean up after us when things go wrong.

                          Comment


                          • A horse was imported by a barn mate years ago and tested positive for piro on arrival. Trainer said to send it back ASAP. No question. Client wasn’t thrilled, but followed the advice. Reading all this, that trainer was wise indeed.

                            Import agent hadn’t had horse tested for piro before it left Europe as it had competed in the US recently. Not so wise.
                            The Evil Chem Prof

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by FatDinah View Post
                              If some one has expertise, please answer. Do these tests work by detecting antibodies or the virus? If it is antibodies, is it possible the horse was exposed and developed antibodies well before import? That it is not infected or contagious, but has antibodies?
                              I agree this isn't "just" a false positive if he has consistently popped a positive.
                              This horse was tested before it shipped and it was negative.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by BK6756 View Post

                                I don’t think you understand how medical tests work.... there’s no such thing as a test that is always 100% correct all the time.
                                Tests are characterized by sensitivity and specificity, and it is always a tradeoff. If you want a test to always catch every truly positive case, there will be some false positives too. If you want a test to never have any false positives, that means you are going to miss some of the truly positive animals (going to have false negative).
                                For a serious foreign animal disease like glanders, the correct thing to do is require a test that is highly sensitive so that you never miss a positive horse, even if that comes at the expense of a rare false positive.
                                That is why the USDA requires a certain test and you can’t just choose to use another test.
                                Interestingly, according to one research paper, the USDA cft had the lowest sensitivity of the 3 tested and the highest specificity. So actually more likely to get false negative.

                                Comment


                                • Originally posted by FatDinah View Post
                                  If some one has expertise, please answer. Do these tests work by detecting antibodies or the virus? If it is antibodies, is it possible the horse was exposed and developed antibodies well before import? That it is not infected or contagious, but has antibodies?
                                  I agree this isn't "just" a false positive if he has consistently popped a positive.
                                  I had an active Rocky Mountain fever case from a tick but the tests also showed an old Lyme infection, all through antibodies.
                                  It's a bacterial infection, not a virus.

                                  "The CFT is an accurate serological test that has been used for many years for diagnosing glanders. It will deliver positive results within 1 week post-infection and will also recognise sera from exacerbated chronic cases."

                                  https://www.oie.int/fileadmin/Home/e...1_GLANDERS.pdf

                                  This is the 2018 version of the OIE manual. It says that more specific ELISA tests are being worked on to help resolve questionable results of quarantined horses. It also says the immunoblot test is not fully validated, for whatever reason.

                                  Part of the problem is that the horse has not been confirmed positive or negative under the current standards. If we had positive CFT plus a positive secondary test, it would be confirmed positive. But a negative secondary test does not appear to negate the positive CFT under these standards.

                                  This 2011 paper compared the sensitivity and specificity of different CFTs. It concluded that the USDA test was the most specific (but the others were still highly specific), but the least sensitive.

                                  https://veterinaryrecord.bmj.com/content/169/19/495

                                  Comment


                                  • Just wanted to add....if trainer had any money invested in this horse, might there be a conflict of interest coloring her advice and willingness to go very public?
                                    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                                    Comment


                                    • Is there any update on the horse?

                                      Comment


                                      • Originally posted by JustTheTicket View Post
                                        Is there any update on the horse?
                                        Nothing that is posted on the trainer's Facebook page.

                                        Comment


                                        • Originally posted by IPEsq View Post
                                          This 2011 paper compared the sensitivity and specificity of different CFTs. It concluded that the USDA test was the most specific (but the others were still highly specific), but the least sensitive.
                                          Right, of the CFTs. But the WB and ELISAs are nevertheless more specific.
                                          (I would actually want to know wtf was going on with that USDA antigen they tested. A sensitivity in the low-60s for a low-prevalence screening test is NOT acceptable. Both sensitivity and specificity should be above 90 to be highly credible).

                                          The WB and all ELISAs, except BimA, were significantly more specific than the CFT. ELISAs based on TssA, TssB, and BimA antigens had significantly lower sensitivity compared to CFT while the sensitivities of the Hcp1-ELISA, the IDVet-ELISA and the WB did not differ significantly from that of the CFT.
                                          https://journals.plos.org/plosone/ar...l.pone.0214963

                                          In this paper, CFT vs WB specificity was 96.4% vs 99.4%, sensitivity 98% vs 96.8%. ELISAs were less specific than WB but more than CFT.

                                          A highly specific test for a disease/organism will pick up the disease, at the cost of popping some false positives. A highly sensitive one will correctly classify true negatives as negative, at the cost of popping some false negatives.
                                          Proud Member Of The Lady Mafia

                                          Comment

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