Dealing with Disease Risks: Kentucky Mandates Requirements for Horses from Illinois Following EHV Quarantine at Hawthorne Racecourse

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Preventing disease is one thing. Dealing with an outbreak is another. But how to protect your state's horses from a possible influx of horses from a state which has had an outbreak is another, and it will be interesting to see how different states relax or restrict health requirements for horses coming from the Hawthorne Racecourse in Illinois, which has had barns under quarantine for Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) since mid-October--or from the entire state of Illinois.

E.S. (Rusty) Ford, Equine Programs Manager in the office of the Kentucky State Veterinarian, issued the policy that his state will employ; he has shared the announcement.

If you think this doesn't effect you because you live far away or because you're not involved with racing, remember that these types of edicts would be used in your own state, and that EHV can pop up at horse shows, sales, expositions, or anywhere horses gather.

This announcement is of particular importance to all horseowners of all breeds of horses who have been in Illinois, or who live there, because it requires all horses from that state to be approved before entry to Kentucky.

The Kentucky Office of State Veterinarian (OSV) continues to monitor an outbreak of?Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy affecting horses at Hawthorne Race Course in Illinois.? Recent media reports state a horse in Hawthorne's Barn 6 developed a fever during the last week of December and subsequently tested PCR positive for Equine Herpes Virus Type 1 (EHV-1).

The animal's illness and associated diagnostic testing provide evidence that transmissible EHV-1 likely continues to be prevalent in the Hawthorne environment.? This evidence and threat of transmission of the causative agent, coupled with environmental and epidemiological factors, has lead Kentucky State Veterinarian Dr. Robert Stout? to conclude that horses currently or recently stabled at Hawthorne pose a significant risk of exposure to this highly communicable disease.

Kentucky Administrative Regulations governing the entry of horses into the Commonwealth prohibits the entry of equine having known exposure to a communicable disease.

Therefore, horses currently stabled and horses stabled during the past 30 days at Hawthorne are ineligible for traveling interstate into Kentucky without approval from Kentucky Department of Agriculture.

Additionally, with the Illinois Department of Agriculture's previously imposed quarantine scheduled for? release next week (January 9, 2013), effective immediately, the KY OSV requires that all horses seeking entry into Kentucky from Illinois be approved? by the KY State Veterinarian's Office.

The required entry permit? should be applied for by the attending veterinarian in writing (fax to?502/564-7852) and must include each animal's name, age, sex, breed, origin, destination, defined purpose of entry, and the Illinois Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI) document number that will be issued. The request must also include a statement that the horse(s) has not been on Hawthorne's grounds during the preceding 30 days.? Upon approval, the Kentucky Entry Permit Number should be recorded on the CVI and a copy of the permit attached to the CVI during transportation.

Furthermore, due to the identified threat and elevated risk to our racing population, the Kentucky OSV directive to Kentucky's race tracks and training centers continues to be horses that have been at Hawthorne during the fall meet should be denied entry onto any Kentucky track or training center with exception given only to those horses that have completed a supervised quarantine off the grounds, have? tested negative for EHV-1 and have been released from restrictions imposed by the Kentucky Office of State Veterinarian.

In these instances, the facility's management, stabling office or racing secretary should have supporting documentation that the routine entry requirements and vaccination requirements have been met. For those horses completing their post-departure quarantine outside of Kentucky, we recommend that each animal be considered individually.? We will be happy to assist in reviewing each animal's health status and eligibility for entry if desired.

In Summary:

1)????EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY - ALL HORSES ENTERING KENTUCKY FROM ILLINOIS MUST HAVE AN ENTRY PERMIT ISSUED BY THE KY DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE.? The permit request shall be in writing (fax to?502/564-7852) and include all pertinent information.? Our goal will be to receive, review, determine eligibility, and to approve or deny the request by the first workday following receipt.

2)????HORSES CURRENTLY OR RECENTLY STABLED AT HAWTHORNE SHALL NOT BE GRANTED ACCESS TO KENTUCKY RACE TRACKS (or Training Centers) - Unless specifically With exception of horses approved by the Kentucky State Veterinarian.

These restrictions and directives will remain in effect until further notice.

Veterinarians needing to request an entry permit - should contact our office or download the request form and instructions from the KDA web page at

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture's web page will be updated to reflect this most recent information.