Editor’s Note: This article was updated to include the quarantine release at Turfway Park.
The Kentucky State Veterinarian’s Office has released all barns at Keeneland Race Course and its Rice Road Training Center, in Lexington, from quarantine put in place after horses there tested positive for equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1).
One of two barns quarantined at the Rice Road Training Center was released on Feb. 8, and negative test results resulted in the release of the remaining barn on Feb. 10, E.S. “Rusty” Ford said in a statement.
“Testing of this barn’s population of horses that had been exposed to EHV-1 was completed today with each horse testing negative on both nasal swabs and whole blood,” said Ford, equine programs manager for the Kentucky State Veterinarian’s Office. “Having been greater than 14 days post exposure and each horse now having two negative sets of results, the Kentucky Office of the State Veterinarian has released the quarantine imposed on Jan, 22 and horses from this barn are under no further restrictions.
“With this release, we have no barns at the training center under quarantine or restriction,” Ford said. “Previous positive horses do remain under regulatory monitoring and are quarantined at a secured segregated area off the site and will remain so until they too are confirmed negative by PCR testing.”
[brightcove videoid="3027535698001" title="Health Alert: Equine Herpesvirus"]
Meanwhile, at Turfway Park, in Florence, samples from horses in the quarantined barn have come back negative for EHV-1, Ford said. That barn has also been released from quarantine.
"With this barn now released, there are no racing or training facilities in Kentucky under quarantine for EHV-1," Ford said. "We appreciate the commitment, and cooperation of KY’s horsemen, track managers, racing officials, veterinarians and all others who worked to resolve these events.
"Racing at Turfway continues unintrrupted," he continued. "Trainers shipping in to race or train will continue to be assigned stabling in the receiving barns unless the individual trainer has stalls permanently assigned on the backside. All horses entering the stabling area are required to present valid certificates (proof of a negative Coggin’s test and a certificate of veterinary inspection, CVI) qualifying the horse’s entry onto the backside. The CVI must include statements that demonstrate a valid vaccination history."
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 myeloencephalopathy (the neurologic form). In many horses, fever is the only sign of EHV-1 infection, 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 the neurologic form 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.