Kentucky Reports EHM Case, 27 Horses Exposed

The Kentucky State Veterinarian has confirmed a case of equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy (EHM, resulting from equine herpesvirus or EHV) in a 3-year-old Thoroughbred filly in Woodford County. Her training facility and 27 exposed horses there are currently under quarantine.

The filly reportedly exhibited a fever on Saturday and was referred to a veterinary hospital in Lexington Tuesday evening after becoming unstable and ataxic (uncoordinated). The Kentucky State Veterinarian’s Office was alerted of the suspected EHV case on Tuesday night, and the training facility was placed under restriction pending completion of diagnostic testing.

PCR testing detected the neuropathogenic EHV-1 strain. Kentucky animal health officials have been present at the facility, previously imposed restrictions remain in place, and the 27 exposed horses had samples (nasal swabs and whole blood) collected March 11 and submitted for PCR testing. As of the evening of March 10, veterinarians reported the sick filly is showing signs of improvement.

This case has no connection to any other EHV-1 incidents, according to the state veterinarian’s office.

In addition to the affected premises, Turfway Park in Florence, Kentucky, has implemented precautionary measures for its live racing meet, with all horses arriving to race stabling in the receiving barn unless the trainer has permanently assigned stalls. Officials have evaluated biosecurity protocols. The state veterinarian’s office has personnel onsite examining health documents and coordinating efforts with Kentucky Horse Racing Commission staff.