Charles Town, Penn National Impose Restrictions Over EHV-1 Concerns
Penn National and Charles Town racetracks have imposed restrictions on horses shipping to their tracks as a result of suspected cases of equine herpesvirus in the Mid Atlantic region.
Penn National reported that its stable area has been closed effective immediately to all horses arriving from tracks, farms and training centers in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Delaware.
"Any horse currently stabled at Penn National that leaves the grounds to race in Maryland or West Virginia will not be allowed to return to the Penn National stable area until further notice," a statement from the Pennsylvania track said. "Any horse stabled on a farm from which horses are shipped to race in Maryland or West Virginia will not be allowed access to the Penn National barn area until further notice. At this time horses will be allowed to race at and return from Philadelphia Park. These restrictions will remain in effect until further notice."
Charles Town, in West Virginia, on Friday imposed an embargo on any horses that have been in the states of Maryland or Virginia since Feb. 1.
The embargo, which precludes horses from those states being able to ship to or race at Charles Town, had an immediate effect on the track’s Friday night card. Racing secretary Doug Lamp said there were as many as 30 scratches for the 10-race program due to Maryland and Virginia horses being excluded from the grounds.
“Half of our race card usually consists of shippers,” said Lamp, adding that the embargo is in place indefinitely.
Meanwhile, the Marion du Pont Scott Equine Medical Center in Leesburg, Va., is holding two EHV-1 information meetings. They are:
Meanwhile, under the direction of state veterinarian Richard Wilkes, veterinarians with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services have quarantined six farms in Northern Virginia with horses that might have been exposed to a horse infected with EHV-1.
Quarantines will restrict movement on and off the affected facilities. In addition, veterinarians are urging horse owners to observe strict hygiene control procedures, including a thorough cleaning and disinfecting routine using a proven disinfectant/cleaner, to avoid spreading the disease in the environment.
EHV-1 is a highly infectious disease that usually affects the respiratory system. Occasionally, the virus can also cause neurologic disease. Transmission likely occurs by inhaling infected droplets or ingesting material contaminated by nasal discharges or aborted fetuses.
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