A pony based at Los Alamitos Race Course was euthanized and later tested positive for the "wild-type" strain of equine herpesvirus type 1, which forced a barn at the Southern California racetrack to go through quarantine procedures.
According to an alert posted by the California Department of Food and Agriculture Feb. 21, a 10-year-old pony "displaying severe neurologic signs was euthanized" and tested positive for EHV-1. EHV-1 has sprung up at multiple racetracks across the country in recent weeks.
California Horse Racing Board equine medical director Rick Arthur confirmed the case of EHV-1 at Los Alamitos and provided additional details.
"The pony was used to pony (Quarter Horses) at Los Alamitos during the races. He last worked (Feb. 11)," Arthur said of the deceased horse, who was euthanized Feb. 18. "The barn where the horse was housed is under quarantine, and the six (Quarter Horses) he ponied during the races going back to (Feb. 7) are being closely monitored."
Arthur said there have not been any other confirmed cases of EHV-1 at Los Alamitos. The quarantined barn has 11 horses in it, according to the CDFA, but the specific barn that is under quarantine has not been disclosed. The breeds of all the horses in the quarantine barn have also not been disclosed.
"CHRB official veterinarian Dr. (Gary) Beck has been at Los Alamitos evaluating the situation, setting up the quarantine conditions, reviewing biosecurity procedures with horsemen, and consulting with the CDFA veterinarian assigned to the incident," Arthur said. "To date, there is no indication of any additional cases."
As of 2 p.m. PT, Santa Anita Park officials were still gathering information about the issue, and no decisions had been made regarding how the quarantine at Los Alamitos may impact racing Feb. 23 at Santa Anita.
"We're finding out what section it was in (at Los Alamitos) and which barn is under quarantine," said Tim Ritvo of The Stronach Group, which owns Santa Anita. "We obviously wouldn't take any Thoroughbreds from that barn, but we'll consult with our vets and (Arthur) before we make any decision."
Arthur said all Los Alamitos-stabled horses entered for racing Friday at Santa Anita were examined and did not show any signs of infection. They will be examined again Friday morning before being transported to Santa Anita, to avoid the possibility of spreading any infection to the racetrack to the north.