More Tests Scheduled for Horses Exposed to Virus

Horses in Barn 26 at Turfway Park were to be retested the evening of Dec. 28 for evidence of equine herpesvirus to determine if any other horses are positive for the virus, said Rusty Ford of the Kentucky State Veterinarian's office. Results are expected by the weekend.

One horse in the barn, the 3-year-old filly Coupe Aux Marrons, was euthanatized due to neurologic signs of equine herpesvirus, and another horse in the barn showed neurologic signs (not typical of herpesvirus), but is recovering. That horse wasn't confirmed as having herpesvirus, but the virus hasn't been completely ruled out.

Clinical signs suggesting the neurologic form of equine herpesvirus caused state officials to quarantine Barn 26 Dec. 21. The horses were tested soon after using PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing that detects actual DNA of the virus. Of the 44 horses tested, 11 (25%) showed positive PCR, but no clinical signs of disease.

Ford said that result indicates the virus did spread in the barn, but that the immune systems of those horses were able to fight off the disease. No additional horses have shown clinical signs, though a few have run fevers of undetermined origin--not unusual in a training barn with young horses, Ford said.

"I'm confident we detected it early," Ford said.

The horses are being hand-walked in the shedrow but have not been allowed to train or mix with other horses at Turfway. Ford said once proper protocols are in place, healthy horses from Barn 26 will be allowed limited access to the track for training.