Hawthorne EHV-1: 85 Horses Negative

Updated test results from an outbreak of equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1) at Hawthorne Race Course became available Nov. 7, at which time 85 track ponies were all declared negative.

According to a release, 40 racehorses which tested negative were moved from Barn A to Barn 8 at Hawthorn three weeks after the confirmed neurologic cases were discovered within Barn A. Under the directive of the Illinois Department of Agriculture, those horses are now eight days into the 21-day period before they will be tested again to be reintroduced into the horse population. Because of State regulations, no new horses can be added to the group within Barn 8 as their reintroduction period has already begun.

"While we understand there are logistic problems in locating/relocating horses during this timeframe, we have been able to limit the areas to Barns A, 8, and K2," the release read. "As more horses are being tested and coming up negative, we are able to create another area for negative horses so they may begin their reintroduction to the horse population. Those horses which have still tested positive will be moved to Barn K2 as all will be put onto the same timeline for testing/reintroduction."

The new negative horses will be allowed to begin training out of Barn A as they begin their 21-day reintroduction process, according to the release. Additionally, those horses within barn K2 which are asymptomatic and have had no fever within the last week will also be able to return to the track to train. Their 21-day reintroduction period will begin when the horses within Barn K2 test negative.

Based on the amount of horses that will be returning to the track, training hours at the Chicagoland racetrack will be adjusted beginning Nov. 10. Regular training hours will be from 6:00-10:00 a.m. CST with one break at 8:00 a.m. The starting gate will be available from 7:30-9:30 a.m. Training for horses from Barns A, 8 and K2 will begin at 10:00 a.m.

"We understand this is a logistical nightmare for many and we thank everyone for their cooperation through this process," said the release. "There are many owners, trainers, veterinarians, and employees that have been displaced through this process. This is time consuming, but we are working to get as many healthy horses back to the track as quickly as possible under the guidelines presented to us by the Department of Agriculture for the State of Illinois."

Meanwhile, with the Oaklawn Park stable area set to open Nov. 12, the Arkansas racetrack announced Nov. 7 that it will ban all equines that have recently been at Hawthorne Race Course in response to a growing number of horses there being diagnosed with the highly contagious equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1).

Working in conjunction with Arkansas State Racing Commission veterinarian Joseph Lokanc, DVM, and veterinarian Lee Cyphers, DVM, Oaklawn has updated its policy regarding EHV-1. Now, any horses (both Thoroughbreds and track ponies) that originate from Hawthorne or horses which have been on the grounds of the Chicago-area racetrack for any reason during the most recent 28 days will not be allowed in the Oaklawn stable area. In addition, all horses entering the Oaklawn stable area must have a current health certificate which shows vaccination for EHV-1 not more than 60 days old and not less than 14 days old prior to their arrival.

Horsemen are encouraged to contact their practicing veterinarian or Lokanc at 630/632-1601 with any questions.

"We hope to lift the ban well before our live race meet, but we have to make the safety of all the horses entering the Oaklawn barn area our top priority," said David Longinotti, assistant general manager of racing. "We will continue to monitor the situation closely and will rely on advice from both Dr. Lokanc and Dr. Cyphers."

Oaklawn's barn area opens Nov. 12 and the track opens for training the following Monday, Nov. 19. The 2013 race meet begins Jan. 11.

Originally published on BloodHorse.com.

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