Florida EHV-1 Update for 23 December: Horse Dies at Payson Park

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File this under "not good news": The Daily Racing Form is reporting that a horse has died at Payson Park, a training center near Indiantown, Florida. The horse had been a patient at a clinic where horses suspected of having EHV-1 also were patients. Lab results confirming that death was caused by the virus will not be available until after Christmas.

Payson Park is the winter home of some of the world's leading racehorse trainers, and horses stabled there have been consigned to the Keeneland sales in January. No horses will be going anywhere for a while. Horses in training there who were entered in races at Calder had to be scratched, according to the Racing Form.

The Form also reports that the world's highest-regarded stakes horse, champion Discreet Cat, has been temporarily stabled at Payson awaiting shipment back to Dubai to continue training.

Reference: Daily Racing Form 23 December RSS Feed
(Click on blue link to read the full article.)

Meanwhile, some good news: a negative test result has come back on a sick horse in Jupiter Farms, Florida. To be sure, the test will be repeated.

The state of Florida has not posted an update on the virus outbreak since December 21. According to the Florida Association of Equine Practitioners on Friday, the count was:

4 deaths associated with this outbreak;
9 cases with neurological symptoms;
8 confirmed positive cases;
8 premises currently under quarantine.

On Friday, they optimistically reported, "All the veterinarians were comfortable with the fact that it appears this outbreak is contained to the areas currently under quarantine. They also were in favor of recommending to clients not yet here, that shipments of horses into Wellington should be safe after Christmas. The horse shows should be able to safely begin after the first of the year. These recommendations could change if new cases with a high or dangerous risk are found outside the quarantine areas. There have been NO new confirmed positive cases of EHV-1 in Wellington outside of the current quarantine areas. A Positive test result has come back on one horse in the Palm Beach Equine Clinic quarantine area. This horse has been isolated since 12.14.06."

Obviously, the new case at Payson Park, while not in Wellington, may complicate the picture for the veterinarians, or at least shift emphasis from the Wellington hunter/jumper/dressage scene to the racing world. Racetracks in Florida depend on "shippers", or horses vanned in on race day from training centers like Payson. Both horses stabled at the tracks and at the training center routinely ship in and out of veterinary clinics for treatments, diagnostic imaging like scintigraphy or MRI, and minor surgery. It is not unusual for racehorses and show horses to cross paths in this way.