Texas & Piroplasmosis: Know Before You Go

We said goodbye to the Lone Star State.

Sunday, April 18 – I woke up in Katy, Tx. Early in the morning (6 am Arizona time), Clay, our friend Tricia Hamilton and I pulled on our traveling clothes, packed up our horses and hit the highway as the National Reining Breeders Classic show was now over. Since we knew we would be hitting the Canadian border soon, we had to arrange for our NRBC show horse to receive a specific test that would verify his negativity for equine piroplasmosis. Clay and I also had to apply for a permit to bring him into Canada – mandatory for all horses that have been in Texas or New Mexico – and cross the border within 15 days of the test results, with the original permit in hand.

Equine piroplasmosis is an infectious disease caused by either of two protozoal parasites that attack the red blood cells. Affected animals can exhibit fever, anemia, weight loss, jaundice, and, in some cases, clinical signs lead to death. It’s no wonder Canada doesn’t want it within our borders. But take it from me, if you are planning on traveling with horses to Texas or New Mexico, ensure you get your paperwork in order! Otherwise, re-entry into Canada could be very difficult at the moment.

Tricia and I: not in comfy traveling clothes.

So back to the trip from TX to AZ. We tootled along, stopping pretty much only for pit stops and to feed + water horses. The goal was to get back to Arizona asap, as we also planned to head north for Canada soon. But going from Katy, TX, back to Arizona was an interesting trip, I have to say… While there was some good “people watching” along the way, Tricia and I were a little unnerved to discover we were in turn, being “watched” as well.

At a roadside McDonalds in west Texas, Tricia and I caught a man watching us with binoculars through the front window of his semi.

We got back on the road – and fast.

Here’s a shot I caught on the fly at Fort Stockton…

Fort Stockton, TX, boasts the world's largest roadrunner. This is not a picture of it...

The next stop was another border inspection, on the west side of El Paso.

At 10:47 pm we made it to Tucson, AZ, where we picked up our new cow horse stallion, Meradas Blu Starlite from Bandalero Ranch.  Then back it was back to Cave Creek for 3 am – Clay and I slept ’til noon that day (Monday).

Originally, our plan was to leave for Canada the following morning (Tuesday). However following a little route research, Clay discovered that we could hit some bad weather on the route he was looking at taking. Since piroplasmosis has also been discovered in New Mexico, it was important for us to completely avoid that state on the way home.

So all of sudden, Clay decided we couldn’t wait to leave the next morning. We were leaving tonight instead…

Packing up a trailer in the dark isn't much fun.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s adventure – our first leg of the trip towards Canada. Let’s just say this: 10% grades and an 8-horse rig don’t mix.

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