|Fair Ground Horses Prohibited from Shipping
in to Texas Racetracks
Due to ongoing analysis of positive
equine herpes virus (EHV-1) cases at the Fair Grounds Race Course in New
Orleans, Louisiana, the Texas Racing Commission is directing Texas horse
racetracks and licensed training facilities to prohibit horses being shipped
in from the Fair Grounds. Dr. Stewart Marsh, Chief Veterinarian, has determined
that the horses from the Fair Grounds present the possibility of communicable
or contagious disease to other race horses on the grounds of Texas horse
racetracks and licensed training facilities.
On Wednesday, December 24, 2008, one horse at the Fair Grounds was confirmed
to have the virus. A quarantine went into effect for approximately 70
horses at the track on Saturday, December 27. On Monday, December 29,
five additional horses were confirmed to have tested positive for the
virus. Additional testing is scheduled to occur and the results should
be available by mid-January 2009.
The recommended quarantine period for the virus is 21 days after possible
exposure to the virus.
Equine herpes is a viral disease contracted from the air or by direct
contact. Symptoms commonly include an upper respiratory infection and
a fever. In severe cases, the virus can cause neurological problems. The
disease poses no threat to humans.
The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) has set criteria
that requires handlers of horses shipping to the Fair Grounds to provide
proof that horses have had a certified veterinary inspection within the
prior 48 hours and a recent herpes vaccination. The horses must also show
a normal temperature reading upon arrival. In addition, according to a
news release on the Fair Grounds Race Course website, biosecurity measures
have been implemented to guard against the spread of the virus. These
procedures include certificates of veterinary inspection required for
all horses that enter the stable area, a requirement that horses that
ship in to compete be allowed only into the track's Receiving Barn; disinfectant
procedures for both the Receiving Barn and the starting gate; the use
of latex gloves by starting gate crew, and disinfectant procedures in
the paddock at the end of each day's racing.