01/17/2017 12:13PM

Five test positive at Kentucky training center for less-virulent form of herpes

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A handful of horses at a second facility in Oldham County, Ky., have tested positive for the wild-type strain of equine herpesvirus (EHV-1), but none of the horses are showing symptoms of the disease, and restrictions on travel to Turfway Park have not changed as a result, according to the state’s equine programs manager.

The five horses that have tested positive have been moved to an isolation area, and no other horses at the facility have tested positive for the disease, according to Rusty Ford, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s top equine veterinary official. The wild strain of equine herpesvirus is not considered as dangerous as the neuropathic form.

“Everything is looking good right now with the exception of the horses that have been put in quarantine,” Ford said.

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Last week, Turfway, acting on Ford’s recommendation, placed a prohibition on horses shipping in to the track from HighPointe Training Center, also in Oldham County, after three horses tested positive for the disease. Of the three horses that tested positive, one of the horses tested positive for the neuropathic strain. That horse had a fever and was showing “neurological abnormalities” at the time, according to Equine Disease Communications Network.

Turfway is also requiring all ship-ins to be placed into its receiving barn, in relative isolation from the rest of the population. Ford said he was not recommending that Turfway change its policies. The agriculture department has inspectors at Turfway who are checking the paperwork of ship-ins and monitoring the horse population, Ford said.

Chip Bach, the general manager of Turfway, said on Tuesday that the track has been sanitizing the stalls at the receiving barn and the starting gate, although he said that no horses at the track are displaying any signs of the disease.

“We’re doing everything we can do,” Bach said.

Horse populations across the Midwest are under increased scrutiny right now because of an outbreak of equine herpesvirus at Fair Grounds in New Orleans, which is under tight quarantine restrictions.