Vesicular Stomatitis Regulation Planning Continues

Nine premises remain under quarantine in Texas due to vesicular stomatitis (VS), according to Max Coats, DVM, MSc, deputy director for Animal Health Programs for the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC). On July 13, Breeders' Cup, the TAHC, and other parties received the USDA's draft of guidelines related to VS and Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas, for the Breeders' Cup races to ensure that no participants are exposed to the disease.

Pamela Blatz-Murff, senior vice president of Breeders' Cup Operations in Lexington, Ky., said she had received the draft for comment, as had the TAHC and shipping agents. "We're currently reviewing it, and we have not yet gotten back with the USDA to go over all the specifics," she said.

The guidelines will cover surveillance testing for animals located on the grounds at Lone Star Park, biosecurity and quarantine measures for international horses (to ensure compatibility with the USDA Code of Regulation), facility modifications, and insect abatement.

Blatz-Murff said track officials are performing surveillance at Lone Star Park to make sure the premise remains VS-free.
Once Breeders' Cup, the TAHC, and the USDA come to an agreement, the guidelines will be presented to the European Union. Blatz-Murff and Coats think an agreement can be reached on the guidelines.

It remains unclear who will be fiscally responsible for implementing the regulations. Blatz-Murff says that most likely, the Breeders' Cup venue will pay, and the zone will be implemented under the supervision of the USDA. Coats added that this will not be a "government-funded affair."

New cases of VS recently appeared in Colorado, New Mexico,  and one new premise in Kerr County, Texas (on July 6). "We've got fewer (cases) than we had before," said Coats. "We're down to nine (quarantined premises)--one in Dimmit (County), one in Kerr, one in Uvalde, one in Yokum, and five in Starr."

Premises in Reeves County and Val Verde County in Texas have been released from quarantine, and animals at other locations are nearing their release dates. After lesions on affected animals on a premise have been healed for 30 days, that premise can be released.

About the Author

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief, received a B.A. in Journalism and Equestrian Studies from Averett College in Danville, Virginia. A Pony Club and 4-H graduate, her background is in eventing, and she is schooling her recently retired Thoroughbred racehorse, Happy, toward a career in that discipline. She also enjoys traveling, photography, cycling, and cooking in her free time.

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