Kentucky Entry Requirements for Horses From Saratoga Racetrack

Horses residing at Saratoga’s EHV-1-affected barn remain under quarantine.
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Kentucky Entry Requirements for Horses From Saratoga Racetrack
In many horses, the first or only sign of EHV-1 infection is fever, which can go undetected.| Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/The Horse
Officials at the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) have issued a clarifying statement regarding the outbreak of equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1) at Saratoga Racetrack in New York.

Horses in Saratoga’s affected Barn 86 remain under quarantine; however, horses residing at other Saratoga barns will be permitted entry at Kentucky racetracks and training facilities by meeting established requirements for entry, including a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI) stating the horse was examined and the certificate issued within 72 hours of the horse arriving at the Kentucky facility; the horse having met Kentucky’s established EHV-1 vaccination requirement; and the horse having been tested for equine infectious anemia (EIA).

The Kentucky state veterinarian recommends horses shipping to Kentucky tracks from Saratoga be scheduled with the stable manager and that arrival and stabling information be shared with the track’s designated equine medical director.

EHV 101

Herpesvirus is highly contagious among horses and can cause a variety of ailments in equids, including rhinopneumonitis (a respiratory disease usually found in young horses), abortion in broodmares, and equine herpesvirus myeloencephalitis (EHM, the neurologic form).

In many horses, the first or only sign of EHV-1 infection is fever, which can go undetected. In addition to fever, other common signs of EHV-1 infection in young horses include cough, decreased appetite, depression, and a nasal discharge. Pregnant mares typically show no signs of infection before they abort, and abortions usually occur late in gestation (around eight months) but can be earlier. Abortions can occur anywhere from two weeks to several months following infection with EHV-1.

Horses with EHM usually have a fever at the onset of the disease and might show signs of a respiratory infection. A few days later, neurologic signs such as ataxia (incoordination), weakness or paralysis of the fore- and hind limbs, urine retention and dribbling, loss of tail tone, and recumbency (inability to rise) develop.

Herpesvirus is easily spread by nose-to-nose or close contact with an infectious horse; sharing contaminated equipment including bits, buckets, and towels; or clothing, hands, or equipment of people who have recently had contact with an infectious horse. Routine biosecurity measures, including hygiene and basic cleaning and disinfection practices, should be in place at all times to help prevent disease spread.

Current EHV-1 vaccines might reduce viral shedding but are not protective against the neurologic form of the disease. Implementing routine biosecurity practices is the best way to minimize viral spread, and the best method of disease control is disease prevention.

 

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