Washington, D.C.—The National Thoroughbred Racing Association is pleased to announce new guidance out of the U.S. Department of Agriculture which will streamline the glanders testing protocol for importing horses into the United States. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has recently issued an update to its Veterinary Services Guidance 13407.3, which pertains to the testing of horses during their import quarantine. This update introduces a new testing procedure for glanders, which previously has been susceptible to produce false positives.

“One of the number one issues I’ve heard in this job is how cumbersome USDA testing protocols slow down the import of horses and have in some instances left horses in quarantine unnecessarily for weeks,” NTRA President and CEO Tom Rooney said. “This updated guidance will help prevent needless delays for our owners and farms. We appreciate USDA and look forward to continuing to work with them to modernize common sense reforms for our industry.”

NTRA has been in ongoing discussions with the USDA concerning testing protocols and is encouraged by the USDA’s responsiveness to our input, resulting in essential adjustments to the glanders testing protocol. The NTRA remains committed to championing policies that enhance the welfare of the equine community.

Below is a summary of the revised guidance regarding the glanders testing protocol:

  • Glanders Testing Protocol: A new testing protocol for glanders has been introduced, aimed at minimizing the possibility of false positive results without incurring additional costs for submitters. The National Veterinary Services Laboratories will now employ the double antigen enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay as the official test for glanders. This test is more sensitive and specific compared to the existing complement fixation test. The daELISA results are binary, being either positive or negative, with no “suspect” outcomes. If daELISA results turn out positive, NVSL will conduct a Western blot as a confirmatory test. Horses testing negative in the Western blot confirmatory test will be classified as free from glanders and may be released.

This guidance became effective as of Oct. 10, 2023. More information can be found at

Return to Oct. 20 issue of Wire to Wire