According to a memorandum from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA), due to the ongoing outbreak of equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1) at the Chicago, Ill.-area Hawthorne Race Course, restrictions have been placed on equine movement from Illinois to Kentucky.
The outbreak--which began in mid-October 2012--has resulted in the deaths of seven racehorses. A quarantine remains in place at the track. Officials have said that, barring any more positive tests, the quarantine could be lifted in early to mid-January.
In the Jan. 3 memorandum, Rusty Ford, equine programs manager in the Kentucky State Veterinarian's office, relayed that the "threat of transmission of the causative agent, coupled with environmental and epidemiological factors, has lead Kentucky State Veterinarian Dr. Robert Stout (DVM) to conclude that horses currently or recently stabled at Hawthorne pose a significant risk of exposure to this highly communicable disease."
Thus, according to the memo and effective immediately, all horses entering Kentucky from Illinois must have an entry permit issued by the KDA. Further, horses currently or recently stabled at Hawthorne will not be allowed at Kentucky racetracks, with the exception of horses approved by the Kentucky state veterinarian.
"The required entry permit should be applied for by the attending veterinarian in writing and must include each animal's name, age, sex, breed, origin, destination, defined purpose of entry, and the Illinois Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI) document number that will be issued," Ford said in the memo. Additionally, he noted, the request for entry must include a statement confirming the horse(s) have not been to Hawthorne in the preceding 30 days.
"We will be happy to assist in reviewing each animal's health status and eligibility for entry if desired," Ford's memo read.
Entry permits and additional details can be obtained on the Kentucky state veterinarian's office website. The restrictions will remain in effect until further notice.
Disclaimer: Seek the advice of a qualified veterinarian before proceeding with any diagnosis, treatment, or therapy.