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Warmblood Import Nightmare

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  • Won’t be euthanized if shipped back to Europe. Here is the correspondence stating that from our case roughly a year ago.
    From: Neubauer, Heinrich <Heinrich.Neubauer@fli.de>
    Sent: Friday, November 23, 2018 10:02 AM
    To: MT
    Subject: Re: AW: Urgent-USA trying to euthanize horse for glanders that had negative western blot

    Hi,
    According to the data we have published so far the WB was always a little bit better than the CFT. The quality of the result is mostly dependent from the quality of the CFT antigen used and the experience of the operator. So laboratories have to prove their performance in proviciency tests. Let me explain it differently if a formula one champion will drive a FIAT punto it makes a difference. Ciao hn

    Von meinem iPhone gesendet



    MT
    Are you able to advise if the western blot is more accurate than a CFT?
    11/23/2018

    MT
    Hello I am looking at sending the horse back to Germany, let him recover and get a cft pre export test to USA before bringing him back to USA. If he goes to Germany, what is protocol when he arrives? Sent from my iPhone
    11/12/2018

    MT
    This from one of the authors that wrote article on western blot.
    11/8/2018
    NH

    Neubauer, Heinrich <Heinrich.Neubauer@fli.de>
    Thu 11/8/2018 10:01 AM
    Sirolas Glanders
    To:
    MT;
    Flag for follow up.
    Action Items
    Hi,
    you need to talk about the epidemiologic situation in Germany and US – both countries are free according to OIE. So the question now is where should the horse got infected? You have to proof that during the transport there was no chance for the horse to get infected. Talk to the company which transported the horse and make sure they provide a paper stating this (maybe also from the official vets that were involved at the two border customs as well). Then you need the data on CFT sensitivity and specificity that the US administration relies on. Adding up these data should finally result in a risk assessment that the CFT result is a false positive one (or a real positive if you cannot get all the information). According to our German law we than had to take into account animal protection reasons – here it is strictly forbidden to kill an animal without a very good reason. This is why we do a lot of tests additionally before we decide that the horse should be killed at all.
    We do not know about the agents causing the cross reaction so we cannot help in identifying which antigens did cause the reactions in CFT.
    This is all the advice we can give because finally the local administration is responsible and has to follow the local laws in the end.
    I am sorry that we cannot help with better laboratory measures at all.
    Ciao HN

    Agent still willing to accept the horse?

    Comment


    • Glanders is rarely treated, most are just euthanized. Not worth potential spread.

      Concern with antibiotics becomes that it can mask/treat clinical signs but animal can still bacteria.

      I also think that in the case the owners argument for antibiotics gets very skewed. He's sick enough for abx but not sick enough to be positive for glanders. That doesn't really fly with USDA.

      Also, as a veterinarian, I can guarantee you that no vet wants to euthanize that horse. They are following the letter of the law as it's written. They can't deviate from standard protocol. But please do not vilify the USDA vet as wanting to euthanize this horse. That is an oversimplification of a complicated situation.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by Temecula Jumper View Post
        The USDA is allowing only one more test. If the horse fails, the USDA is requiring euthanasia, or that the horse be sent back to Europe. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has told the family Europe will euthanize the horse as soon as it arrives.
        He is wrong.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Temecula Jumper View Post

          ​​

          Dr. Healey,

          I know that you have asked for me not to contact you, but I have just had a discussion with Deanne and Gabby, and would like to take this opportunity to clarify a few things. Deanne is still a bit under the weather from her own ordeal today, and Gabby is an emotional wreck, as expected from a 15 year old.

          I am sure that you think we are nasty people with a certain agenda. Please understand, we are very good people who have been dealing with this for 7 plus weeks. We really do appreciate your involvement at this time, but our frustration has been building for close to two months. I am a horse trainer for the “middle class”! My clients don’t typically have the 6 figures to spend on show horses. When we pooled 36,000 together to purchase this horse, it was a stretch! The Farrells are a military family, Dan just retired after 30 years this past summer! We really thought we found Gabby the unicorn, that in the U.S. would easily cost 75,000 plus. I have, over the years, been involved in 30 horses purchased from overseas. I have never experienced anything like this!

          For 7 weeks we have been misled and bullied by the people that were suppose to be helping us. When this horse had a temp of 103, they couldn’t get a veterinarian out to treat him! They had the power, not us. We finally had a real vet visit Hireno and within just 4 days his CFt test number lowered a drastic amount! We were so excited!!!! We have been told by every professional that our horse does not have glanders, proved by the consistent negative western blot test. We have been told by vets, Drs within the USDA that the CFt test is flawed, but at a rate of 5 to 10% false positive, it is still considered 90% accurate. Cliff Williamson, from the American Horse Council, explained to me how he got the western blot test approved a few years ago as the first step to make glanders testing in the U.S. more accurate. He knows it’s a small step in the right direction, but not soon enough to save Hireno!

          After having the very difficult conversation with Deanne and Gabby, we are requesting that Hirenos last CFt blood pull be moved up to Tuesday instead of Thursday. There does not seem a reason to delay the inevitable. I do truly believe that Hireno will eventually test negative to the CFt, as he has 8 times to the western blot. I believe the sudden reduction in his last CFt test was due to what ever bacteria his body has been fighting, is being treated by the antibiotics he was put on a week ago today! I am sure that the CFt test was picking up that bacteria, and that was causing his non-negative CFt test. Bacteria yes, glanders no. Deanne and I will work diligently Monday and Tuesday to find a lab that can perform an autopsy on Hireno. If the blood is pulled Tuesday, we will know by end of day Wednesday about his test. There is a small chance that this time around he will test negative, but I hold very little faith seeing that his body will have only had the antibiotics in for a week and a half.

          Please help us have a lab in place that can take the body to dissect and prove one way or the other about his glanders diagnosis. It is important to us to know the truth. More importantly, however, I believe it is crucial for the USDA to know, for a fact, if he was truly positive for glanders. We are small timers, not terribly important to a government organization as large as the USDA, but, better testing and clearer results should be of upmost importance to the USDA.

          Maybe Deanne, Hireno and myself were dealt this blow to be the catalyst for change. I know it won’t save Hireno, or Gabby for that matter. Please consider in your future testing protocol, that not all importers of horses are multi millionaire owners and olympians. Some of us are just small time trainers with a tall skinny girl who dreams of competing on a horse of her own. Please know that we have meant no ill will or to harass or bother you. We have fought for 7 weeks to save this horses life and the future riding of Gabby. We are out of money, and I’m sure you are out of time and patience. Unfortunately, Gabby is out of a horse. We just can’t go out and get her a new one. This was our chance.

          My last request is that you please have all of Hirenos CFt and western blot tests, in their entirety, released to Deanne. We all need to understand where the testing went right or wrong dependent on the autopsy!

          I really do appreciate you rea ding this email, as I know I am not on your “good” list. Please know my questioning and constant bothering was all I could do to try to get a better outcome! Hireno has been here for 7 weeks, we have never been able to meet him, touch or hug him, or tell him that we loved him. But we did! And we tried!

          Sincerely and with upmost respect;

          Mary Beth Molt


          Ok I know this mess isn’t the trainer’s fault, but this letter is a disaster and the LAST thing I’d want to send out to people. Did their lawyer ok this?

          1) It’s way too long. Make your point and move on.
          2) Adding seven explanation points after every sentence makes you seem like a child. I understand emotions are high but this is just not the way to get your point across.
          3) She shouldn’t be adding in little jabs about she knows “she is not your favorite person”, again it sounds immature.
          4) The trainer shouldn’t be adding anything about herself in there at all because she’s pretty irrelevant to them.
          5) Dont bother trying to appeal to sympathy. That’s not there job and they don’t care about that.
          6) Stop taking about your own beliefs and wishes. They don’t care and it’s especially insulting to veterinary professionals.


          Honestly that whole letter is a mess and I’m sure it probably might make that trainer feel better to get some stuff off her chest but FFS put it in a box and burn it then. This is not going to help. I seriously hope this didn’t get sent out and that their lawyer will help them write something appropriate.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by fordtraktor View Post
            From this article, it appears that Germany would not permit the horse to renter either because it has to pass the CFT after a period of retests if it passes the blot test.

            it also seems as if Glanders was basically eradicated from Western Europe for 60 years before a horse imported from Africa reintroduced it, so I can see why USDA is being vigilant. That said, the situation is completely awful, especially for the poor family.

            https://thehorse.com/113843/diagnosi...rs-in-germany/
            Horse passed the European version of the CFt before leaving Europe. The problem arose when the horse was tested with the US Cft that is only produced by a single manufacturer in the states, and the only one accepted by the USDA. The horse could very possibly test negative on the European CFt if that version of the test was administered today.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by AppaloosaDressage View Post

              Horse passed the European version of the CFt before leaving Europe. The problem arose when the horse was tested with the US Cft that is only produced by a single manufacturer in the states, and the only one accepted by the USDA. The horse could very possibly test negative on the European CFt if that version of the test was administered today.
              Who knows? There may be an incubation period, otherwise why would both countries test?

              Comment


              • So.... were there other horses on this flight? What happened to them?

                If this horse has glanders, wouldn't the others have been exposed? If there is an incubation period,and it was glanders, wouldn't there be a chance the other would now test positive also?

                Comment


                • Originally posted by iJump View Post
                  So.... were there other horses on this flight? What happened to them?

                  If this horse has glanders, wouldn't the others have been exposed? If there is an incubation period,and it was glanders, wouldn't there be a chance the other would now test positive also?
                  My guess is they were held in quarantine an additional 10 days at owners’ expense and retested.. and came up negative. At least that was the case with our horse in 2018.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by MyssMyst View Post

                    I'm really not sure if you're being intentionally troll-ish, or if you can't read. The horse tested negative on Western Blot repeatedly. If there was a suspicion, there's exactly ZERO harm in treating the horse while continuing to test. The test they're basing this decision on is well-known for false-positives. Western Blot is not known for false negatives.

                    I'm completely ok with USDA being cautious. I am NOT ok with a horse being denied adequate veterinary care for 7 weeks while a family is struggling to get answers. For a family being asked to spend large amounts of money PER DAY, USDA BETTER be willing to communicate. That's not the family being abusive or demanding. That's what anyone with a large daily unplanned expenditure would do. That's what ANY ONE OF US WOULD DO IF OUR HORSE WAS UNDER VETERINARY CARE. You can't possibly tell me that if your horse was at the vet's office you wouldn't be checking in daily.
                    It is a zoonotic reportable foreign animal disease. You do not just treat it with antibiotics and go on.

                    ​​​​​​And this horse may have tested negative before it mounted an immune response. I don't have the exact timeline and I also don't believe that the horse was denied care. It is in a quarantine facility. They just don't put them there and forget them.

                    This not black and white. It will never be black and white even if the testing protocol is changed. Diseases and testing are not ever black and white.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by AppaloosaDressage View Post

                      Horse passed the European version of the CFt before leaving Europe. The problem arose when the horse was tested with the US Cft that is only produced by a single manufacturer in the states, and the only one accepted by the USDA. The horse could very possibly test negative on the European CFt if that version of the test was administered today.
                      Or horse was incubating disease. Sure it would be a low possibility but the risk is still there especially when you add in the wbc parameters and fever.

                      Comment


                      • This is so sad.
                        There is a racehorse owner that brought in a horse from Europe and went through the same thing---and wrote an article about it.
                        They were able to get the horse out of quarantine and the horse lived and stayed in the US. I don't know all the details but it might be a good idea to reach out to him and see if he has any suggestions from his experience. He is in California as well.
                        He is with Little Red Feather Racing LLC (easy to find on the internet) and his name is Billy Koch. Might be worth a try to see how he got his horse out.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Equkelly View Post



                          Ok I know this mess isn’t the trainer’s fault, but this letter is a disaster and the LAST thing I’d want to send out to people. Did their lawyer ok this?

                          1) It’s way too long. Make your point and move on.
                          2) Adding seven explanation points after every sentence makes you seem like a child. I understand emotions are high but this is just not the way to get your point across.
                          3) She shouldn’t be adding in little jabs about she knows “she is not your favorite person”, again it sounds immature.
                          4) The trainer shouldn’t be adding anything about herself in there at all because she’s pretty irrelevant to them.
                          5) Dont bother trying to appeal to sympathy. That’s not there job and they don’t care about that.
                          6) Stop taking about your own beliefs and wishes. They don’t care and it’s especially insulting to veterinary professionals.


                          Honestly that whole letter is a mess and I’m sure it probably might make that trainer feel better to get some stuff off her chest but FFS put it in a box and burn it then. This is not going to help. I seriously hope this didn’t get sent out and that their lawyer will help them write something appropriate.
                          Yeah, I agree. I wasn't going to go there, but it was odd. Who cares/why mention they're a "military family/dad was in/retired" she is a "tall skinny girl" All irrelevant and weird IMO.

                          But I do get emotions are running high and that the trainer is really trying to help a client.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by CanteringCarrot View Post

                            Yeah, I agree. I wasn't going to go there, but it was odd. Who cares/why mention they're a "military family/dad was in/retired" she is a "tall skinny girl" All irrelevant and weird IMO.

                            But I do get emotions are running high and that the trainer is really trying to help a client.
                            Yep... that was a little eyebrow raising for me. She sounds like the last person I’d want involved representing my interests in this mess. It sounded so immature at first I thought the 15 year old wrote it herself and even then I would still say it’s still immature for a 15 year old.

                            I think the thing that bothered me the most was how she kept making it about herself and her role in this... Also like you said with all the sympathy shit.... their JOB is to not care about all that crap. They HAVE to be by the book and follow protocols because that’s how all of our horses stay safe. Clearly this case sounds like a gray area but I get bad feelings about that trainer.

                            Comment


                            • So I'm not sure why it has drug out this long. If one positive and the horse is done for, why has the USDA allowed the horse to continue to be held? Why retest and retest and retest if that one positive on the one test was enough to decide the horse's fate?

                              Why would a horse be held and the USDA refuse to treat it while in their care?
                              http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

                              Comment


                              • The vets refusing to talk to the trainer or whoever is really just to streamline things. When you're talking to 5 different ppl about the same thing multiple times a day it's 1)exhausting and 2)difficult to make sure you're relaying everything. 1 point of contact is easiest particularly in a situation like this where there has already been too much confusion.

                                Comment


                                • Originally posted by roseymare View Post

                                  Or horse was incubating disease. Sure it would be a low possibility but the risk is still there especially when you add in the wbc parameters and fever.
                                  Right... but it tested negative 8 times on what is widely accepted as the more reliable test.

                                  Comment


                                  • This whole situation is just really weird. I absolutely understand the strict protocol on preventing glanders from coming back into the US, but something about the way this has all gone down just really bothers me. I think it's that the horse was isolated for so long with no treatment for anything, not even the possibility of treatment (like, we can treat for this and then retest in X time), and if they are doing hardcore quarantining the horse was probably only handled by people wearing that quarantine gear. I'm sure he was super stressed out by all of it, which you know doesn't help anyone get healthy.

                                    I don't think they should have just said "oh well, he tested positive on our tests that we are legally required to go by but negative on others so we should just let him go free". But I also don't think an apparently sick horse should go that long without treatment, or that a possibly perfectly healthy horse *I dont count a momentary fever during a period of high stress as being unhealthy) should just be euthanized without even trying to treat him.

                                    And that this was all dragged out with the family footing the bill for it all? There has to be something illegal about that. Or at least a way for them to get something back for all of that.

                                    Agree that the letter from the trainer was entirely too emotional. If I were the vet I probably would have just rolled my eyes at it and then ignored it.

                                    Comment


                                    • Crossing fingers that he passes the test today.

                                      Comment


                                      • Originally posted by Equkelly View Post
                                        Ok I know this mess isn’t the trainer’s fault, but this letter is a disaster and the LAST thing I’d want to send out to people. Did their lawyer ok this?
                                        Agreed. I initially stopped reading after the fifth exclamation point out of annoyance.

                                        Terrible situation all around, though.
                                        Last edited by mmeqcenter; Jan. 14, 2020, 06:26 PM.
                                        Custom tack racks!
                                        www.mmeqcenter.com/tacklove.html

                                        Comment


                                        • If the family has retained a lawyer, it might be wise to run things by them before sending them to the USDA or reposting correspondence authored by another party, with names, on this very widely read board. May not doing anybody any favors in possibly getting to a solution.
                                          When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                          The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                                          Comment

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