Woodbine EHV-1: All Restrictions Lifted

The Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) Manager of Veterinary Services Adam Chambers, BVMS, announced June 26 that all restrictions placed on horses stabled in Barn 1 at Woodbine Racetrack, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, have been lifted, and all horses stabled at the track are now permitted to leave the grounds.

On June 12, the ORC announced that five horses residing in Barn 1 at the Toronto, Ontario, racetrack had tested positive for equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1). In a notice to the industry, the ORC reported that one horse was euthanized on June 10 after becoming recumbent with a fever. A second horse in the same barn also had a fever and showed neurologic signs; that horse was transported to the Ontario Veterinary College for evaluation and treatment, the notice said.

Subsequently, the ORC implemented biosecurity protocol that prevented horses residing in Barns 1 and 3 from leaving their barns and any horse from leaving the premises without ORC permission.

On June 19, the ORC lifted the restrictions placed on horses residing in Barn 3 after all the animals tested negative for EHV-1 on two occasions. In a June 19 notice to the industry Chambers said, "While no horse in Barn 3 had at any time tested positive for EHV-1, the restrictions were initiated as a pony with direct contact with horses in Barn 1 was stabled in Barn 3."

In a June 26 notice to the industry, Chambers said the last time a horse residing in Barn 1 had tested positive for the virus was June 12.

"Twice daily temperature of all horses stabled at Woodbine must still be recorded and be available for inspection," he noted. "Until further notice, horses with fevers of unknown origin are to be reported and isolated until two negative polymerase chain reaction (EHV-1) tests have been returned.

"The infectious and serious nature of this disease prompted these measures and reinforced the need to protect Ontario’s equine athletes," he continued. "As a standard practice, participants are reminded of the importance of establishing appropriate biosecurity measures. Racetrack management need to maintain aggressive disinfectant programs in ship-in barn areas. Further, trainers and their staff should adopt strict procedures and separate equipment for each horse to minimize the likelihood of spreading infectious disease."

About the Author

Erica Larson, News Editor

Erica Larson, news editor, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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