FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
UPDATE: Total of Nine Confirmed Equine Influenza Cases at WEC
WILMINGTON, Ohio – February 15, 2019 – The World Equestrian Center today confirmed a total of nine cases of Equine Influenza at the Ohio horse show venue. Earlier this week, three horses tested positive for the virus. The nine horses are currently in isolation at the World Equestrian Center veterinary clinic in various stages of recovery. The facility is currently in week 8 of it’s Winter Series of the Midwest indoor horse show circuit, which hosts up to 600 stalls each week from December until April.
World Equestrian Center horse show veterinarian Dr. Holly Helbig working in conjunction with horse show manager Vinnie Card have implemented a three phase process for managing the affected horses. Any horse that presents with symptoms is moved to a separate barn on the property and tested for the virus. A positive case is then moved to isolation, located at the onsite veterinary clinic. Horses in isolation are being closely monitored and given round the clock care by Dr. Helbig. Once the affected horses stop showing clinical signs they will be moved to a third ‘step down’ isolation area where they will be retested, and horses with a negative swab will be released.
“We are setting a higher standard to disease prevention at horse shows and following through with our set USEF isolation protocol,” said Dr. Helbig. “World Equestrian Center’s proactive isolation plan is allowing us to stay out in front of the virus and manage it for positive outcomes. Our open communication with exhibitors is helping to remove any stigma associated with the illness. It encourages exhibitors to work with us – adhering to biosecurity protocol and reporting any symptoms immediately, which will help with containment.”
World Equestrian Center owner Roby Roberts has been in contact with veterinarians nationwide who have advised that horse show facilities across the United States have been seeing multiple cases of horses with the Equine Influenza virus, in all areas of the country.
“Equine Influenza is not a reportable illness, but we choose to be transparent in communicating the situation here in Ohio to help exhibitors make informed decisions about their animals,” explained Roberts. “Although there is no mandatory isolation with Equine Influenza, our operating procedures and elevated biosecurity measures are aimed at ensuring a safe and healthy environment for the horses and ponies that show at our facility.”
The global equestrian community is being affected by the Equine Influenza Virus in what is being reported as one of the worst years on record for the virus both in Europe and the United States. Confirmed cases have been reported worldwide in Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain and Ireland since the beginning of the year. The impact has been widespread and has prompted proactive measures from governing bodies such as the British Horseracing Authority who earlier this month cancelled racing at all British racecourses for 6 days after vaccinated horses tested positive for the virus.
Exhibitors are encouraged to contact horse show manager Vinnie Card at (352) 208-1388 or horse show veterinarian Dr. Holly Helbig at (330) 807-2643 with questions or concerns.
The World Equestrian Center recommends horse owners and caregivers observe bio security recommendations and adhere to vaccination schedules.
- The World Equestrian Center is dedicated to providing a safe, healthy environment for horses. As an exhibitor, your cooperation in bringing only healthy horses to our facilities is essential in ensuring a positive experience for everyone who attends our shows.
- All horses entering the World Equestrian Center grounds must have a valid proof of current negative Coggins test (within 12 months).
- A 30-day certificate of veterinary inspection is required for all horses arriving from outside the state of Ohio. Horses who fail to arrive with appropriate paperwork will not be allowed to unload on to the show grounds. Please have your paperwork and bring it to the show office upon arrival.
- Proof of mandatory vaccinations is required per US Equestrian rules.
- It is strongly recommended that all horses be vaccinated for EHV-1 & 4 \ EIV (either modified live or killed vaccine) no sooner than 7 days prior to and no later than 180 days prior to entering the show grounds. MostEHV-1 & 4 \ EIV vaccines are only considered effective for 180 days. Please check with your veterinarian about which vaccine is right for your horse.
- Current vaccinations against WNV, EEE, WEE, Tetanus and Rabies is strongly recommended.
- Please take measures to document your horse’s normal temperature and maintain a log of temperatures taken at least twice daily. If there is an elevated temperature for more than a 24-hour period, please consult your veterinarian immediately. Do not ship a horse with an elevated temperature.
- Any horse on the show grounds with a fever of unknown or suspicious origin should be reported immediately to World Equestrian Center management immediately.
- We encourage all exhibitors to establish and practice good hygiene in their daily stable routine and with horses that are traveling. Communicate these to your barn staff and grooms to ensure effective health measures are taken by all.