Standardbred Racing Alerted to New Risk for Equine Herpes Virus as Michigan Horse Tests Positive


Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) continues to threaten horse racing. The latest situation is in Michigan, and concerns a Standardbred racehorse that came into contact with other horses while racing at Sports Creek Raceway on December 19, 2011.

According to a report published by the Michigan Harness Horsemen Association, the farm associated with the recent confirmed case has been quarantined and any horses from the farm that were scheduled to race have been scratched.

But concern about exposure to the sick horse has crossed the border into Canada. The Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) announced today that horsemen in their province should be wary.

ORC Veterinarian Supervisor Dr. Bruce Duncan advised, “The racing industry is very mobile. While it is up to the discretion of the track, I strongly recommend that race secretaries not accept entries from horses that have raced at this track in the past 30 days.”

On Monday, The Meadowlands in New Jersey banned entries of horses that had raced at Sports Creek. Balmoral Park in Crete, Illinois also banned horses from the Michigan track.

The Michigan Harness Horsemen’s Association warned its members to take appropriate bio-security measures to minimize the risk of exposure to their horses. They advised evaluating horses for any signs of the disease before transporting them by looking for respiratory disease and neurological problems.

They also advised that horsemen avoid sharing equipment and sanitize any shared surfaces that?may have come in contact with other horses, such as cross-ties.

On the Thoroughbred side of racing, horses at Hawthorne Racecourse in Illinois have been blocked from racing at other tracks since an EHV outbreak there began on October 14, 2011. Seven horses have died at Hawthorne.

On Christmas Eve, yet another Thoroughbred tested positive for EHV at the track, according to the Daily Racing Form. The quarantine is scheduled to be released next week.

EHV was also a problem last month in Great Britain, where a single racing stable was quarantined. Three horses were euthanized.




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