Kentucky State Vet's Office Prepares for WEG

From September 25 through October 10, 2010, the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky, will host the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG). More than 700 equine athletes representing 60 different countries are expected to be imported into Kentucky to compete in one of the eight World Championship competitions.

The Kentucky State Veterinarian's Office has regulatory responsibility to contain, manage, and resolve outbreaks of communicable equine diseases occurring at public venues, including large international competitions. Our office has spent the past three years working with the USDA Veterinary Services (USDA), the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) Veterinary Committee, and the WEG Veterinary Services Coordinator to develop specific procedures for importation, disease mitigation, and infectious disease control. These procedures will be in addition to standard disease surveillance procedures practiced throughout the year at the Kentucky Horse Park. The WEG procedures and protocols include heightened biosecurity practices, strategically prescribed immunizations and acaricide (pesticide for ticks and mites) treatments, daily physical examinations of horses, and a centralized reporting system for abnormal findings.

A key component of the veterinary preparedness plan includes development of a temporary quarantine facility at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. Seven separate barns totaling 220 stalls will be used for accommodation of arriving horses. A six-stall barn will be located within the quarantine area to allow further isolation of horses thought to present risk of disease introduction. In addition to routine importation testing for dourine, glanders, piroplasmosis, and equine infectious anemia, each horse will be monitored while in quarantine for a minimum of 42 hours prior to being released for transportation to the Kentucky Horse Park.

Initial blood testing and health monitoring of horses from countries that require a seven-day quarantine will take place at the USDA Animal Import Center in Miami, Florida, prior to transportation by air to Lexington. While teams representing countries affected with African horse sickness will be competing in the games, no horses will originate from these countries. These teams historically train and maintain their stables in Europe.

Each horse will undergo an extensive evaluation by state animal health officials prior to entering the stable area at the Kentucky Horse Park. With the exception of horses required to be stabled in the designated equine piroplasmosis isolation area, horses will be stabled together by discipline.

Piroplasmosis-positive horses must be housed in the designated isolation facility, which will be stringently cleaned, disinfected, and treated with effective acaricides to eliminate ticks, as required by the USDA. These horses will be treated for external parasites and an examination for ticks will be conducted each time the horse enters or departs from the isolation facility.

The veterinary preparedness plans include ensuring resources are available to assist in resolving a potential disease threat and includes an on-site veterinary center for treatment and needed isolation. Off-site veterinary hospitals with identified USDA-approved isolation facilities will also be available. In the event a communicable disease is suspected or confirmed, established protocols have been adopted and are in place to effectively manage the disease.

CONTACT: E.S. "Rusty" Ford, Equine Programs Manager, 502/564-3965,, Office of State Veterinarian, Kentucky Department of Agriculture, Frankfort, Ky.

This is an excerpt from Equine Disease Quarterly, funded by underwriters at Lloyd's, London, brokers, and their Kentucky agents.

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