02/04/2018 3:31PM

Turfway quarantines barn after horse put down due to EHV1


Barn 14 at Turfway Park has been placed under quarantine by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture after a horse stabled there tested positive for the equine herpesvirus (EHV1) and was euthanized Friday.

State and Turfway Park officials met with horsemen Saturday at the track, informing them of the quarantine and the protocols in place to contain the virus. Those measures include disinfecting stalls, tack, equipment, and the starting gate. Horses can continue to ship into Turfway Park to race, though tracks such as Oaklawn Park and Laurel Park announced bans over the weekend of shippers coming from Turfway.

The quarantine at Turfway follows EHV1-related quarantines earlier this winter at Belmont Park and Laurel, both of which have since been lifted.

Many horses are latently infected with the equine herpesvirus without showing any signs of the disease, while others develop the far more dangerous neurological strain of it, which can lead to paralysis and death. More typical symptoms include nasal discharge, fever, and lethargy.

The euthanized horse at Turfway was a 3-year-old unraced gelding named Totter who was owned, bred, and trained by Pam Ross. He began showing signs of neurological issues last week, Ross said, and was initially treated with medication for equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM). He deteriorated midweek, continually laying down in his stall on Wednesday, and the state was notified, Ross said. On Friday, he tested positive for EHV1, and with his condition not improving, the decision was made to euthanize him.

He had been at Turfway exclusively since October, Ross said.

Ross said she shares Barn 14, which houses about 35 horses, with approximately eight trainers. All horses in the barn are now isolated from the general horse population and are to be tested Monday for EHV1.

State and track officials have asked horsemen stabled at Turfway to closely monitor the temperatures of their horses.

“We are taking all precautions to ensure the illness is isolated, and we will adhere strictly to the established procedures until the quarantine is lifted,” Turfway Park general manager Chip Bach said.

Turfway is finalizing logistics to allow training for the quarantined horses after the general horse population there is finished training. The track hopes to have this separate training period in place by as early as Tuesday, Bach said.

The quarantine is expected to last at least two weeks. A barn quarantine cannot be lifted until all horses test negative for the virus.