11/29/2012 2:11PM

Hawthorne: Quarantine extended as euthanized horse tests positive for herpesvirus

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STICKNEY, Ill. – A horse euthanized Monday at Hawthorne Race Course has tested positive for equine herpesvirus, becoming the fourth animal there killed by the disease and prolonging a quarantine that prohibits Hawthorne-based horses from shipping to other racing venues.

The horse, housed in Barn 1 and trained by Eduardo “Lalo” Rodriguez, was found down in its stall Monday morning and eventually had to be euthanized. The EHV-1 virus usually causes only fever or minor upper-respiratory symptoms, but at its worst attacks an animal’s neurological system. When horses lose coordination and fall down, the virus often proves fatal.

The Illinois state-employed veterinarian stationed at Hawthorne, Dr. Dawn Folker-Calderon, said Thursday that no other horses in Barn 1 had been reported to be sick. The horses in that barn, though, will only be permitted to exercise after regular training hours during a period reserved for horses that clearly have been exposed to the virus. Folker-Calderon said the Barn 1 horses would be monitored for at least one week before being permitted to resume normal training.

Monday’s neurologic EHV-1 case was the first reported since Nov. 15. Hawthorne will remain under a state-imposed quarantine until 28 days have passed after a horse with EHV-1 displays neurologic symptoms, and this latest case is a further setback for horsemen that hope to depart for winter racing in Florida, Arkansas, and Louisiana. Jim Miller, the track’s assistant general manager, said in a release Wednesday that despite the latest EHV-1 case, the incidence of infection was becoming more sporadic. The first EHV-1 case at the track occurred Oct. 14.

Horses that can be shipped to an approved out-of-state quarantine site started leaving the grounds Nov. 23. Three pony horses were allowed to leave the track on Wednesday for a facility in Arkansas, Folker-Calderon said.