Dr. Don Notter, Kentucky state veterinarian.

Dr. Don Notter, Kentucky state veterinarian.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Florida Only State Requiring Special Permit for Kentucky Shippers

Concerns about reports of late term abortions and early fetal loss in Kentucky mares has caused only Florida to enact special restrictions on horses shipping in from the Blue Grass.

Kentucky state veterinarian Dr. Don Notter said he has talked with every other state veterinarian office in the continental United States, and most have decided to wait for better information about what is causing the foal loss before taking action.

Florida is requiring veterinarians in Kentucky to secure a special permit before allowing a horse onto a trailer. As of Thursday, 71 permits had been requested. The procedure is not overly restrictive. The Florida state veterinarian's office simply wants a clear record of where horses have been before shipping in.

"I applaud their action," said Notter, who was in Lexington Thursday evening for a special meeting at Keeneland regarding the foal loss syndrome. "Florida is just protecting their equine industry."

Even if people are not shipping to Florida, Notter said he recommends they call the state veterinarian's office for their destination. He said it is important for state veterinarians to know what is coming into the state even if no special permit or restriction applies.

"And that situation could also change quickly," Notter said about special permits or restrictions. "We may not have the time to notify the practitioners."

Notter's office has been inundated with calls from veterinarians and horse owners around the country. By 2 p.m. Tuesday, the office had logged 70 calls. They kept streaming in until 11 p.m. Tuesday night, according to Rusty Ford, equine programs manager and assistant state veterinarian.