A 2-year-old Thoroughbred stabled at Churchill Downs before being euthanized last month was confirmed Friday to have West Nile virus, according to the Kentucky State veterinarian's office. That horse had been highly suspect and was being treated as a WNV case, and confirmatory laboratory results were received Nov. 16 from the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa.
The horse, Rocket Express, was trained by Robert Holthus and had been stabled at Churchill for much of the year. He was sent to the Hagyard-Davidson-McGee equine clinic in late October after developing a suspected case of laminitis. Rocket Express was euthanized at the clinic on Oct. 25.
That brings the total confirmed WNV horses in Kentucky to eight. This number excludes one horse which was residing in Kentucky when it was determined to have WNV, but which acquired the disease in Florida prior to shipping to Kentucky. It has been counted in the number of positive Florida WNV cases.
The Kentucky State Veterinarian's office is working closely with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, Kentucky Department of Public Health, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
As a result of a recommendation from the state vet, Churchill has intensified its efforts to monitor areas of standing or stagnant water where mosquitoes, which carry WNV, might breed. The state veterinarian's office has said weather conditions prevalent in Kentucky at this time of the year result in little activity by mosquitoes, according to Churchill.More on West Nile Virus