A barn at Churchill Downs with a stable of 12 horses has been placed in quarantine while veterinary officials await test results from a horse recently sent from Churchill to an equine clinic, equine medical director Dr. Will Farmer said of Churchill Downs Inc. on November 29.
The farmer refused to speculate on the nature of the illness affecting the horse, although he said vets have a “high suspicion” as to what it is. He did not have an update on the health status of the unidentified horse.
Two common equine diseases that often lead to quarantines are equine herpesvirus and strangulation. Both are contagious.
This year, Fonner Park and Parx Racing had the barns quarantined because of a strain of equine herpesvirus called EHV-1, while Indianapolis Horseshoe and Thistle down he had quarantines due to strangulation.
Quarantines, which are intended to reduce the chance of spread throughout the horse population, usually remain in effect on horses in barns until state veterinary officials receive further testing that no tested horses are sick or asymptomatic carriers and a period of time has passed designated. . These can sometimes last two weeks or more.
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A representative of the Office of the State Veterinarian at the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, the department that oversees quarantines in the state, could not be reached for comment.
“We’re going to proactively test all those horses in that barn tomorrow morning,” Farmer said. “We’ll make a plan once all these results come back.”
He said he expects those test results by late afternoon or early evening on Nov. 30.
Churchill Downs Inc. equine medical director Dr. Will Farmer
The farmer declined to identify the trainer or trainers whose horses are in the affected barn.
Late November is a busy time for shipping in Kentucky, with many horses sent south approaching or after the end of the fall Churchill Downs meet for winter racing in warmer climates. Churchill Downs concluded its meeting on November 27.
In response to the quarantine, 1/ST Racing, which works Santa Anita Park, Golden Gate Fieldsand Gulfstream Parkamong other racetracks and properties across the country, placed a ban on consignors from Churchill Downs pending published veterinary findings and communication with Churchill Downs.
Horses transporting horses from Churchill Downs Trackside, a training facility owned by Churchill Downs but located five miles from the facility, are not affected by the ban as long as their health certificate shows they were at Trackside, according to Dr. Dionne Benson, Chief Veterinary Officer with 1 /ST Racing.
She said the 1/ST Racing ban could be adjusted based on test results and updates from Farmer and Kentucky Agriculture officials.
“I’ve been on the other side of that a few times,” she said.