Neurologic Herpesvirus at Woodbine Racetrack in Canada

Barn 12 at Woodbine Racetrack is under quarantine after two horses tested positive for neurologic herpesvirus.
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Woodbine Racetrack

Two Thoroughbred horses tested positive for neurologic herpesvirus at Woodbine Racetrack's Barn 12. 

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), Canada, reported that Woodbine Racetrack has two confirmed cases of neurologic herpesvirus with five others exposed.

Two 2-year-old Thoroughbreds that resided in Barn 12 at Woodbine were transported to the Ontario Veterinary College for testing and treatment on Saturday, May 16, after exhibiting neurologic signs. They subsequently tested positive for the neurotropic strain of equine herpesvirus type 1 (EHV-1). 

A third horse was also transported, but subsequently tested negative for neurologic herpesvirus.

Four additional horses residing in Barn 12 at Woodbine be isolated as a precaution, according to the AGCO. 

One of the four horses has been isolated because it resided near the two positive horses. 

The three other horses have fevers, but have otherwise not shown signs consistent with EHV-1. 

The following measures are now in effect at Woodbine: 

  • In order to determine whether the disease has spread to horses in other barns, no horses are to exit Woodbine Racetrack without AGCO approval until further notice. This restriction will be reviewed on an ongoing basis. 
  • No horse is allowed in or out of Barn 12 until further notice, including for training, except for emergency veterinary treatment or to be isolated. This restriction will be reviewed, based on the progression of the disease. 
  • Only essential people shall enter Barn 12. 
  • All horses stabled at Woodbine must have their temperatures taken and recorded visibly on each horse’s stall door for twice daily inspection. Trainers with horses that have clinical signs consistent with EHV-1 infection (including fever of 101.5 F/38.5 C or higher) or respiratory signs (cough, nasal discharge, and/or neurological signs) must immediately report the findings to their veterinarians. 
  • Equine dentistry is not permitted, except for emergencies. 
  • Only ponies housed in the same barn will be allowed to pony horses. 

Horse people who had horses at Woodbine Racetrack within the last seven days should monitor their horses for any signs of illness.

Horse owners/trainers/managers are reminded to remain vigilant and institute appropriate biosecurity measures and should consult with their veterinarians for advice.

To ensure best practices are in place to contain the disease, the AGCO received input from the infectious disease expert Dr. Scott Weese from the University of Guelph, and worked closely with Woodbine management, veterinarians and horse people.

The AGCO will continue to closely monitor the situation and any further developments will be reported. 

EHV-1 cannot be spread to humans and is entirely unrelated to the current COVID-19 pandemic. 

For more information visit the ACGO website.

Information for this report was provided by the Equine Disease Communication Center.

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