UPDATE JANUARY 22, 2014, Kathleen M. Anderson, DVM

The Maryland Department of Agriculture has lifted the hold on the barn which contained the “exposed” horses after a 21 day period of isolation from the remainder of Fair Hill horses.  These isolated horses will return to racing in the various jurisdictions beginning tomorrow.

The only horse affected with clinical signs remains in separate isolation pending the outcome of the blood and nasal swab samples taken yesterday.

Thank you again for your support and confidence regarding horses stabled at Fair Hill Training Center during this period.

ORIGINAL POST January 12, 2014:

Although it is not yet confirmed, officials at the Fair Hill Training Center are taking all the required precautions for isolating and treating a possible case of equine herpesvirus (EHV1). The Fair Hill Training Center hosts 17 training barns and well over one hundred horses. However, unlike track backstretches, all of the barns are spaced far apart from one another, which is useful in a situation such as this.

According to Fair Hill veterinarian Kathy Anderson, who is working closely with the Maryland State Vet’s office, the horse in question has been isolated in a barn separate from the remainder of the exposed barn. The exposed barn is also being isolated from the remainder of the Training Center barns by virtue of training hours after all other barns have trained, without contact with the “gate” personnel or equipment, and with restricted entry and exit of all horses within that barn.

Temperatures are being monitored carefully, and neither the horse in question nor the other horses in the exposed barn have exhibited elevated temperatures or any other clinical signs.

Anderson explained: “The isolated horse had exhibited an elevated temperature prior to a colic episode and subsequent moderate neurologic signs tested negative on serology for EPM.  Both ‘buffy coat’ and nasal swab samples on the isolated horse were sent to both Maryland Dept of Agriculture and University of KY Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.  The ‘buffy coat’ samples were negative; however, the PCR nasal swab sample demonstrated a weak positive with no  evidence of neuropathogenic strain mutation.”

Continues Anderson: “It has been reported that 15-24% of EHV-1 isolated from horses with confirmed EHM do not have the neuropathogenic strain mutation, therefore the isolated horse will remain in isolation until such time as it tests negative on PCR.  As a precaution, the remainder of the exposed barn will complete a 21 day isolation period during which they will be monitored closely for clinical signs of viremia.”

EHV1 is highly contagious among horses, but does not affect humans.

Meanwhile, some tracks are accepting horses to race, but others are not. The decisions seem to be based on how receptive each track is to the stringent protocols currently being employed at the Training Center. For more information, see Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred editor Joe Clancy’s detailed article on This is Horse Racing.

As of Saturday, January 11, there has been no changes in the status of the isolated barns and Dr. Anderson and the Training Center officials are continuing to manage the process using established biosecurity procedures and protocols. Updates will be posted on the website for the Fair Hill Training Center.


The good news is we have no new developments to report.  Dr. Stevens from the Maryland Depart of Agriculture inspected the isolated barns and horses at Fair Hill on Friday Jan 10th  and was satisfied with the procedures and protocols in place.  There is an official hold in place on both of the barns involved.  Retesting of the affected horse will likely occur Tuesday Jan 21st, with the tentative goal of release of the official hold on January 23rd (Jan 1-22=21 days) on the exposed but clinically normal horses.