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Warmblood Import Nightmare

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  • Warmblood Import Nightmare

    Looking for other people’s experiences/input: A family in our barn purchased a 6 year old gelding from Belgium. He was sent to Holland for import to the US. In Holland, he had pre-import bloodwork, including for Glanders, and all was negative. He shipped to LAX and was again tested for all required diseases and popped a 3 on the CFT for Glanders (apparently a 7 result means positive, and his level was considered “suspect”). He was then tested on a Western Blot for Glanders and was negative. He was re-tested a week later on the CFT and was down to a 2. He was then re-tested again this week and is a 3. USDA won’t release the horse unless he tests a 0. The horse has now been in isolation in quarantine for over a month.

    The horse has not been positively diagnosed as having Glanders and the USDA thinks he most likely does not have it, but he still can’t be brought into the country until he is a 0. Quarantine is costing $375 per day and the family has already spent $20,000 just on quarantine fees at this point. Insurance will not cover his quarantine stay and will also not cover euthanasia or the mortality portion of the policy. Per the USDA, euthanasia and disposal of the horse will be in excess of $20,000 due to the way in which the remains have to be handled.

    The only other option is to send the horse back to Holland and hope they will accept him back into the country. The seller won’t take the horse back but the agent has agreed to try to re-sell the horse if the send it back to Holland, at a cost of $10,000 to $12,000 to the family to send back.

    Has anyone ever heard of this happening before and if so, how did it resolve? Anyone have any thoughts or advice for the family? They are now out approximately $50,000 to date with no clear resolution in sight. This horse was supposed to be a Christmas present for their 15 year old daughter.

  • #2
    Not exactly the same but I had a mess over the Piro test, which has a similar thing...negative can still be a certain positive titer number. Thankfully, the shippers I was using to handle all the import wouldn't accept the horse until I could give them the titers. I went round and round with the lab (I had the PPE vet do the testing...the issue was getting the horse out of the home barn by the shippers) on getting the titer values. They just kept saying negative is negative!

    Thankfully, they reissued me a lab report with the titer numbers which were well below what USDA would have considered questionable, and horse shipped just fine. The import company said that they have seen issues such as yours and so now they just don't send any horses to the US unless they have very clear negative results on all of the required tests. I also did not send any $ for the horse until I had the bloodwork squared away, on the advice of the vet over there.

    In the current situation, it seems that shipping the horse back even if temporarily would wind up costing a lot less than the other options. Sucks for the horse, though if he could eventually come back in.

    Comment


    • #3
      Holy cats, what a mess.
      If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

      Comment


      • #4
        Heartbreaking. Jingles for a successful outcome for all. Please keep us updated.

        Comment


        • #5
          Please see pm. Went through exact same thing when flying our two year old from Holland into Miami last year. Attorney Chapman Hopkins handled our case, Sagacious’ case a year prior, and a nearly identical case involving an Irish race horse in 2016.

          https://www.skofirm.com/attorney/chapman-hopkins/

          https://dressage-news.com/2017/08/11...opean-success/

          http://blog.littleredfeather.com/we.once.saved.a.horse
          Last edited by AppaloosaDressage; Dec. 22, 2019, 09:01 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Kind of off topic but.. Do US ports of entry test for different things based on horses coming from different parts of Europe?

            Comment


            • #7
              Advice for next time: Shop local.
              www.cordovafarm.weebly.com

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by iJump View Post
                Kind of off topic but.. Do US ports of entry test for different things based on horses coming from different parts of Europe?
                They can in some situations depending on where the horse is coming from. Smart shippers stay current on USDA requirements. Did seller and/or shipping agent(s) and PPE vet test for Glanders before they sent the horse?

                Seems like somebody dropped the ball on the sellers side. It being an International dispute, best they can do is contact those recommended on here to try to sort it out but it’s likely to involve sending him back. USDA is very unlikely to budge.

                This does happen, not exactly rare. But most reputable sellers and shipping agents work hard on their end to be sure it doesn’t.
                When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by AppaloosaDressage View Post
                  Please see pm. Went through exact same thing when flying our two year old from Holland into Miami last year. Attorney Chapman Hopkins handled our case, Sagacious’ case a year prior, and a nearly identical case involving an Irish race horse in 2016.

                  https://www.skofirm.com/attorney/chapman-hopkins/

                  https://dressage-news.com/2017/08/11...opean-success/
                  Wonder why this hasn't changed yet? If western blot was negative?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by NancyM View Post
                    Advice for next time: Shop local.
                    Nancy, they weren't shopping with Sagacious.
                    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                    Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Not cool with the shop local jab.
                      Last edited by enjoytheride; Dec. 21, 2019, 09:26 PM.
                      http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Wow. That's a lot of money outside the cost of the horse.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I know of two situations like this and both were errors on the part of two different import brokers. One assumed that a horse was ok WRT piroplasmosis bc it had been in the US for a World Cup. Not sure of the scenario on the other one, but think it hadn’t been tested for something before leaving Europe. Both horses got shipped back to Europe.
                          The Evil Chem Prof

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by findeight View Post

                            They can in some situations depending on where the horse is coming from. Smart shippers stay current on USDA requirements. Did seller and/or shipping agent(s) and PPE vet test for Glanders before they sent the horse?

                            Seems like somebody dropped the ball on the sellers side. It being an International dispute, best they can do is contact those recommended on here to try to sort it out but it’s likely to involve sending him back. USDA is very unlikely to budge.

                            This does happen, not exactly rare. But most reputable sellers and shipping agents work hard on their end to be sure it doesn’t.
                            From what OP states it doesn't seem like the seller side dropped the ball as the horse was reportedly negative on pre-import blood work unless the "negative" result was obtained by a method of testing not recognized by USDA. It could be just incredibly bad timing in that the horse had been exposed but not seroconverted to a detectable titer prior to shipping and then came up suspect on the retest in the States.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by roseymare View Post

                              Wonder why this hasn't changed yet? If western blot was negative?
                              Glanders is a foreign animal disease (ie we don't have it in the US and haven't for decades), and the importation testing requirements are part of US code. So it literally requires an act of congress to change the law to accept the western blot test rather than the current complement fixation test which is considered the 'gold standard' and is what this horses is testing positive on. I know there was a paper this year comparing the two tests. I believe some high profile, well connected/funded horse people have been trying to get Congress involved, and there have been some high profile horses that tested positive, as someone linked to above. Additionally, if one horse tests positive the entire flight will have to stay in quarantine for 2-3 weeks and retest, which is very expensive and also pretty miserable for the horses (stall rest). I feel like I hear of it happening a lot more lately? Or maybe the testing requirements changed when there were a handful of positive glanders horses in Europe 5ish years ago so it's no longer considered glanders free?

                              I'm so sorry OP, it's a really crummy situation for everyone and there aren't any good answers. I'd reach out to people mentioned above and see how they handled it.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                OP - very sorry to hear this. I'm familiar with what AppaloosaDressage went through and it was a difficult process. My opinion would be to go to the Lawyer suggested asap, or cut the losses and ship horse back also asap. There are not a lot of middle ground things that can be done that dont just chew up time and $$.

                                BTW, if my memory is correct, AD's horse was put on antibiotics while in quarantine.
                                Last edited by 2tempe; Dec. 22, 2019, 09:21 AM. Reason: additional thought

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I am thinking that since it IS a treatable illness that treating with antibiotics and then retesting would be a viable option. Right?

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Thanks everyone for your input. The parties spoke with attorney Chapman Hopkins yesterday and he said there are only three options: 1. Euthanize the horse; 2. Ship back to country of origin; 3. Keep horse in isolation and continue testing. He said the USDA cannot deviate from this protocol.

                                    Since it’s the holidays, there are no flights leaving back to Europe from LAX in the next ten days, so they are going to keep the horse here for another two weeks. The attorney advised it has taken horses on other cases between 30-60 days before they finally achieved a negative result.

                                    The family has been asking the USDA to put the horse on antibiotics for weeks to see if that could help with the test outcome. The USDA has refused because “the horse is healthy.” Attorney Hopkins said he will help facilitate the horse getting some antibiotics tomorrow, so fingers crossed that might help with the next CFT test in ten days.

                                    I’ve been passing on everyone’s posts to the family and they are very appreciative!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      UTE=Applecore;n10540248]

                                      Glanders is a foreign animal disease (ie we don't have it in the US and haven't for decades), and the importation testing requirements are part of US code. So it literally requires an act of congress to change the law to accept the western blot test rather than the current complement fixation test which is considered the 'gold standard' and is what this horses is testing positive on. I know there was a paper this year comparing the two tests. I believe some high profile, well connected/funded horse people have been trying to get Congress involved, and there have been some high profile horses that tested positive, as someone linked to above. Additionally, if one horse tests positive the entire flight will have to stay in quarantine for 2-3 weeks and retest, which is very expensive and also pretty miserable for the horses (stall rest). I feel like I hear of it happening a lot more lately? Or maybe the testing requirements changed when there were a handful of positive glanders horses in Europe 5ish years ago so it's no longer considered glanders free?

                                      I'm so sorry OP, it's a really crummy situation for everyone and there aren't any good answers. I'd reach out to people mentioned above and see how they handled it. [/QUOTE]

                                      I understand all of this but I am still surprised it hasn't been changed yet with some high profile cases.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Haven’t the high profile cases been related to piroplasmosis testing, not glanders?

                                        Comment

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