A Western Kentucky training center south of Henderson was placed under quarantine by last night (Jan. 5) following tests that showed two horses in the center's one barn were positive for equine herpesvirus, according to Rusty Ford of the Kentucky state veterinarian's office.
Ford said an attending veterinarian at the training center contacted him Sunday with concerns of the neurologic form of herpesvirus. The trainer had asked the center to stop movement of horses off the farm on Sunday prior to the official quarantine being put in place, and the facility complied. Ford said one horse has mild ataxia and one was running a fever. The entire population of the training center, approximately 30 horses, will be tested next week. (Ford was returning from horse inspections at Turfway and did not have the paperwork at hand to discuss exact numbers in the horse population, which was determined by his field inspector.)
Ford said at this time officials have not been able to correlate any contact with the training center horses and those in affected barns at Turfway Park. The state veterinarian's office is looking for a source of the Henderson herpesvirus to determine if it was brought into the facility from an active case, or if it was a recrudescence (reactivation) of a latent infection since many horses carry herpesvirus without having clinical signs of disease. Stress, such as transportation or starting training, often will cause clinical signs of herpesvirus in horses carrying the virus.
At Turfway Park, the horses in the Pony Barn and Outriders' Barn were moved from the racetrack to quarantine at a private farm in Boone County where there is no other livestock, said Ford. He said there was no evidence of clinical disease in any of the horses prior to moving them.
In order to mitigate risk, the horses were transported separately according to their positive/negative herpesvirus status and barn of origin. All Pony Barn horses were housed in one barn upon arrival in Boone County, and all Outriders' Barn horses were housed in another barn upon arrival. The exact location of the facility was not released.
Results from the latest round of testing of Barn 26 horses are expected tonight.