Ontario Racing Commission Announces Biosecurity Measures

In response to the deadly outbreak of neurologic equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1) at Hawthorne Race Course in Illinois, the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) has put in place biosecurity measures to help stop the spread of disease.

According to a notice to the industry issued last week, ORC Veterinary Supervisor Bruce Duncan, DVM, has advised the following measures be taken, starting immediately:

  • "Horses that have been on the grounds at Hawthorne at any time since Oct. 4 will not be allowed on the grounds of any Ontario racetrack until 30 days have elapsed from the lifting of the Hawthorne quarantine.
  • "All horses from Illinois being shipped into Woodbine or Fort Erie racetracks shall require a certificate of veterinary inspection dated within 24 hours prior to shipping. The Certificate must be presented to the stable gate personnel prior to entry to the stable area." The animal's rectal temperature taken at the time of inspection must be noted on the certificate.
  • "The Certificate must include the following statement: Horses represented on this Certificate of Veterinary Inspection have not originated from a barn or premises that is under quarantine for herpesvirus, nor have been exposed to a confirmed or suspect case of herpes virus, nor have shown clinical signs suggestive of herpes virus, nor have been febrile within the previous three weeks."

"It is up to the discretion of the track, however I strongly recommend that if race secretaries accept entries from horses that have raced at any tracks in that region of Illinois, efforts should be in place to ensure those horses are examined and have temperatures taken before being admitted to the track," Duncan said in the notice to the industry.

Also in the notice, the ORC encouraged racetrack management to implement and maintain "aggressive disinfectant programs" in ship-in barn areas, and encouraged trainers to monitor their horses' temperatures prior to shipping animals to racetracks.

For more information, individuals are asked to contact Adam Chambers, DVM, at 416/729-7858 with questions regarding Thoroughbreds, or Duncan at 416/213-0520 with questions regarding Standardbreds.

Disclaimer: Seek the advice of a qualified veterinarian before proceeding with any diagnosis, treatment, or therapy.

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