Two Florida newspapers are reporting that a racehorse in Ocala, Florida has been identified as suffering from EHV-1 virus. The horse had been treated at Palm Beach Equine Clinic and then was shipped to a racetrack near Ocala, according to reports in today’s Sun-Sentinel Times and Palm Beach Post.
Ocala is the primary Thoroughbred horse breeding and training center in Florida, but it is also home to an active winter show season, including the popular Horse Shows in the Sun, and many events for western and Spanish breeds.
A second horse, housed in the community of Jupiter Farms, a half-hour north of Wellington, has not been in contact with any horses known to carry the virus but is also showing symptoms of the disease, which can only be confirmed by laboratory tests.
Meanwhile, the web site of the Daily Racing Form is reporting that two barns at Calder Racecourse near Palm Beach have been quarantined after a horse that had previously been stabled there began to show symptoms of what is believed to be EHV-1. To quote from that story: “We are placing two barns under restriction in response to presumed EHV-1 exposure,” Calder’s track veterinarian, Dr. Mary Scollay said Tuesday. “The filly in question shipped in to Calder on Dec. 6 after being hospitalized in Wellington for an unrelated illness and shipped out on Dec. 11.”
Both Calder and Tampa Bay Downs are initiating safety precautions with horses shipping in from other tracks and farms.
The latest official report for today from the State of Florida Division of Animal Industry for 19 December:
“Five cases of Equine Herpesvirus – type 1 (EHV-1) have been confirmed with laboratory testing from horses on a quarantined premises in the Wellington, Florida area. Four additional premises have movement restrictions in place pending further laboratory testing. Three deaths and 15 clinical cases have been attributed to this disease. Six cases have had neurological signs.
“The index or first case reported was a horse imported from Europe though the USDA New York Animal Import Center. Animals on suspected or affected premises are being monitored for fever and other clinical signs on a daily basis and laboratory work is pending on additional cases.”