Neurologic EHV-1 Confirmed at Woodbine Racetrack

The Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) announced June 12 that there have been five confirmed reports of the neurologic equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1) in Thoroughbreds residing in Barn 1 at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

In a notice to the industry, the ORC reported that one horse was euthanized on June 10 after becoming recumbent with a fever. A second horse in the same barn also had a fever and showed neurologic signs; that horse was transported to the Ontario Veterinary College for evaluation and treatment, the notice said.

The notice indicates that Thoroughbred racing will continue at Woodbine; however, according to the notice, the ORC implemented the following restrictions and infectious disease protocols:

  • "In order to determine any further spread of the disease to horses in other barns, no horses are to exit Woodbine Racetrack without ORC approval for the next 7 days (June 19). This restriction may be reviewed based on the progression of the disease.
  • "In addition, no horse is allowed in or out of Barn 1 or Barn 3 for the next 7 days, including training. This restriction may be reviewed, based on the progression of the disease.
  • "All horses stabled at Woodbine must have their temperatures taken and recorded visibly on the horse's stall door for inspection. Trainers with horses that have clinical signs consistent with EHV-1 infection (including fever (101.5 F/38.5 C or above), respiratory signs (cough, nasal discharge and/or neurologic signs) must report these findings to their veterinarian immediately."

In the notice, the ORC recommends horsemen who had horses at Woodbine within the last seven days monitor their horses for signs of illness.

"The neurotrophic form of EHV-1 identified from these horses differs from the non-neurotrophic form identified from the Standardbreds at Campbellville in May of this year," the notice relayed.

The ORC indicated they received input from the office of the Chief Veterinarian for Ontario; Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food; and Woodbine management, veterinarians, and horse people to ensure best practices are in place to contain the disease.

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