Palm Beach Equine Clinic: Public Statement on Disease Outbreak - The Horse Owner's Resource

Palm Beach Equine Clinic: Public Statement on Disease Outbreak

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The following is a prepared statement from Palm Beach Equine Clinic in Wellington, Florida. It is provided here unchanged, in its entirety.

Palm Beach Equine Clinic would like to thank everyone for their patience during the Wellington EHV-1 outbreak.

Contrary to media reports Palm Beach Equine Clinic was not the initial site of the EVH-1 outbreak. We did however admit a horse on December 2nd; four days after it had arrived on the initial shipment from Europe and discharged it from our hospital on December 3rd. This horse tested positive to PCR of nasal swabs and buffy coat on December 18th.

Unfortunately, the doctors at Palm Beach Equine Clinic were unaware of the multiple sick horses and of the neurological cases associated with that European shipment. These horses were being treated by other veterinarians in our area, and until December 15th we had no knowledge that the horse admitted to our hospital on December 2nd was part of that shipment of EHV-1 positive horses.

As soon as we were aware of the situation we contacted via the telephone, fax and by mail all veterinarians who referred cases to our clinic between December 1st and December 14th.

As of December 14th we have not accepted any horses into our hospital nor have we discharged any horses with the exception of one that went to a farm also under state mandated quarantine. Our hospital has been under a strict voluntary quarantine protocol since December 14th. There are currently four horses at our clinic with no known exposure. They have all tested negative on PCR of the nasal swabs and buffy coat. These four horses are stabled in a separate isolation tent awaiting the results of a second testing on December 26th. We have one horse in our separate quarantine facility which tested positive on December 18th. There is another horse sharing this quarantine facility which was suspect on December 16th but has since tested negative.

There is a link between our clinic and the positive horse in Ocala and the horse that was euthanized at Payson Park. We have traced these exposures to the positive horse currently in our quarantine facility and the original horse admitted on December 2nd. Since the treating veterinarians for both these horses were either contacted by us or aware of the situation here in Wellington those horses have been isolated and we hope no virus transmission to other horses has occurred. Both these veterinarians should be commended for their immediate actions which likely saved both Ocala and Payson Park from an all out outbreak.

The doctors at Palm Beach Equine Clinic would like to thank all those from the State of Florida Department of Agriculture, especially Michael Short, DVM for all their efforts in helping us contain this outbreak. We would also like to thank all the Wellington veterinarians who have shared information and joined forces in trying to prevent the spread of this virus.

We are very pleased to announce that we will re-open our hospital and receiving new cases beginning January 2, 2007.

Respectfully,

The Doctors of Palm Beach Equine Clinic

Background article for horse owners on Equine Herpes Virus and, in particular, EHV-1, from the American Association of Equine Practitioners