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In May 2018 Dr. O'Connor and Dr. Lightbown spoke at Plainridge regarding the importance that temperatures be taken of horses before leaving their barns to race at Plainridge as mandated by the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture, emphasizing the the possibility that racing could be stopped indefinitely should a sick horse enter the paddock area and infect other horses.
Dr. Andersen handed out a fact sheet discussing the importance of taking the temperature of each horse and other steps that should be taken. Please note the information Dr. Andersen provided below.
Anyone might accidentally aid in causing a quarantine resulting in a major financial loss to racing. Taking temperatures can be the biggest tool in preventing a serious outbreak.
If moderately high (100.5-101oF) and your horse was administered bute or banamine within the past 30 hours,
you may have a sick horse but the bute lowered the temperature.
Other things that help:
Your horse did not have to go anywhere to become sick.
Things to do if your horse has a high temperature:
Is the threat of stopping racing real?
Yes! Strangles (bacteria – Streptococcus equi) and Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy (EHM), the neurological form of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV1), seem to pop up everywhere. Currently (May 2018) there are about a dozen outbreaks of Strangles in Massachusetts, and a recent death in Maine was proven to be caused by the neurological Herpes virus. Each has shut down horse racing and horse showing across the U.S.
The following biosecurity measures are recommended:
* Dogs are not permitted on the event premises or All dogs on the event premises must be kept on a leash.
* Limit horse-to-horse contact
* Limit horse-to-human-to-horse contact
* Avoid sharing of equipment, to include tack, water buckets, brushes, wipe rags, etc.
* Avoid use of communal water troughs
* Avoid submerging end of water hoses in water buckets
* Do not allow horses to drink directly from a water hose
* Avoid tying horses to fences or gates on the event grounds
* Cover all feed and hay to prevent access by vermin, birds or other animals
* Monitor your horse frequently for signs of disease during the event
* Immediately report any sick horse(s) to designated event official or veterinarian
* Thoroughly clean and disinfect all equipment before use at the home premises
* Isolate and monitor all animals upon return to the home premises