05/28/2004 12:00AM

Kentucky eases stomatitis rule


Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher on Thursday eased the restrictions regarding the transport of animals into the state from Texas, a change that has made it easier for Kentucky-based horses to run Monday in rich events at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas, and then return home.

Because an outbreak of vesicular stomatitis (VS) was confirmed May 19 in three horses at an isolated western Texas ranch, severe limitations had been imposed by some states, including Kentucky, on the travel of livestock from Texas. But the disease appears to have spread no further, and the day after some 1,450 horses stabled at Lone Star all tested negative for VS, Fletcher issued an emergency regulation that will allow Kentucky livestock easier travel from Texas, under certain conditions.

Five horses from Louisville arrived Friday at Lone Star to compete in the seven-race Lone Star Million series on Monday.

In part, the eased restrictions allow horses to be shipped from Texas to Kentucky without a mandatory 30-day waiting period. Horses shipping from Texas to Kentucky still must have a negative test for VS within 10 days before their arrival and have a written waiver from a veterinarian. Horses shipping from Texas to Illinois must be accompanied by a similar waiver.

VS can affect horses, cattle, pigs, and some other animals, causing blisters to form in the animals' mouths or along the hooves.