The Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) has been made aware of an outbreak of the neurological form of Equine Herpes Virus 1 at Hawthorne Race Course, a thoroughbred racetrack in Illinois. While racing will continue as scheduled at the track, Hawthorne has put a quarantine in place.

Due to the outbreak, the ORC is announcing measures for horses arriving at Ontario racetracks from that facility. ORC Veterinarian Supervisor Dr. Bruce Duncan advises the
following, effective immediately:

Horses that have been on the grounds at Hawthorne at any time since October 4, 2012 will not be allowed on the grounds of any Ontario racetrack (and specifically Woodbine or Fort Erie racetracks) until 30 days have elapsed from the lifting of the Hawthorne quarantine.

Further, all horses from Illinois being shipped into Woodbine or Fort Erie Racetracks shall require a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection dated within 24 hours prior to shipping. The Certificate must be presented to the stable gate personnel prior to entry to the stable area.

The Certificate must include the following statement:
Horses represented on this Certificate of Veterinary Inspection have not originated from a barn or premises that is under quarantine for herpes virus, nor have been exposed to a confirmed or suspect case of herpes virus, nor have shown clinical signs suggestive of herpes virus, nor have been febrile within the previous three weeks.

Please note that the rectal temperature of the horse taken at the time of inspection must be noted on the Certificate.

As the racing industry is very mobile, Dr. Duncan advises that other Ontario racetracks need to be cautious. “It is up to the discretion of the track. However, I strongly recommend that if race secretaries accept entries from horses that have raced at any tracks in that region of Illinois, efforts should be in place to ensure those horses are examined and have temperatures taken before being admitted to the track.”

The ORC is also encouraging racetrack management to maintain aggressive disinfectant programs ship-in barn areas. As a standard practice, trainers should continue checking their horse’s temperature prior to shipping into an Ontario racetrack.

The ORC is closely monitoring the situation and any further developments will be reported.

For more information, contact:

Thoroughbred – Dr. Adam Chambers (416 729-7858)
Standardbred – Dr. Bruce Duncan (416 213-0520).