A potentially deadly equine disease rarely seen in the United States poses a serious, new threat to the multibillion dollar horse industry. Equine piroplasmosis, a tick-borne disease prevalent in about three-quarters of the world, now infects hundreds of horses in at least 13 states—including Washington. How can we stop this advancing threat and protect the health of our animal companions and the economically important U.S. horse industry?

WSU scientists are leading critical research to stem the spread of equine piroplasmosis—and other animal diseases—through development of knowledge and novel vaccines. They’re also exploring ways to possibly clear the disease from infected horses and to improve diagnostic techniques. Dr. Don Knowles, leader of animal disease research for the USDA Agricultural Research Service and professor of veterinary medicine at WSU, is at the forefront of internationally collaborative efforts to promote global equine health. He will provide you with insights to this innovative research.


Featuring: Don Knowles, D.V.M., Ph.D., D.A.C.V.P.

Research Leader, Animal Disease Research Unit, USDA Agricultural Research Service, and Professor, Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine

Dr. Don Knowles has served since 1995 as research leader of the Animal Disease Research Unit (ADRU) for the USDA Agricultural Research Service. He is also a professor of microbiology and pathology in the College of Veterinary Medicine at WSU. Through his appointments, he has strengthened and expanded the long history of close research collaboration between the University and ADRU. Dr. Knowles was elected this year as a fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science and commended for his “distinguished contributions to the diagnosis and understanding of multiple important animal infectious diseases and for leadership of an acclaimed USDA-ARS unit—the Animal Disease Research Unit.”
His research has addressed equine and bovine babesiosis, caprine (goat) arthritis encephalitis virus, scrapie of sheep, mad cow disease, bovine anaplasmosis, malignant catarrhal fever of bison and cattle, and the spread of infectious disease between domestic and bighorn sheep. Dr. Knowles is a board certified veterinary pathologist and works closely with various interest groups, such as the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the American Sheep Industry, and the American Horse Council, to help apply research-based solutions to disease problems. He earned B.S. and D.V.M. degrees at the University of Illinois and his Ph.D. in virology at WSU.